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DNO to Begin Producing Oil From Iraq Later This Month

Source: bloomberg 5/16/2007, Location: Middle East

DNO ASA will begin delivering oil from the Tawke discovery in northern Iraq this month, less than two years after it first began drilling in the region. The Oslo-based company started drilling in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq in November 2005. DNO said it plans on delivering crude oil by truck from the Tawke wells to the domestic market by the end of May. The trucks will initially have a capacity to deliver 15,000 barrels of oil a day, increasing to 35,000 barrels in August, the company said.

DNO will also be able to sell the oil from Iraqi fields on the international market once it gains access to a pipeline operated by Iraq's national oil company in June or July,Managing Director Helge Eide said. The company will only be able to use the pipeline, which has a capacity of 50,000 barrels of oil per day, when oil is already flowing through it until around August, after which there will no longer be any restrictions in place, he said.

DNO signed two production-sharing agreements with the Kurdistan regional government in 2004 and now has a 55 percent working interest in these agreements.

Iraq's Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said on May 2 that foreign oil companies should wait to sign exploration and production contracts in Iraq until the nation's parliament passes a new energy law.

DNO said today it made a new discovery in the '' deeper reservoir horizon'' of the Tawke field, and the Tawke-3 well flowed at an aggregate 7,000 barrels of oil per day.

DNO reiterated an earlier production forecast for Tawke of about 25,000 barrels a day by the end of the year.

The estimated reserves of 100 million barrels in Iraq, of which DNO has a 55 percent interest, could potentially be higher, although the company must evaluate the fields more thoroughly before possibly raising its estimate, Eide said.

DNO plans to produce about 26,000 barrels a day by the end of the year, up from about 13,000 barrels a day at the beginning of 2007, after bringing new reserves into production, it said.

The company plans to drill nine additional exploration wells in Yemen in 2007 and to participate in at least six exploration wells on the Norwegian continental shelf this year, including the first well it will drill as an operator on the Norwegian shelf, it said.

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