The Kurdistan region in Northern Iraq has garnered the attention of various oil and gas operators and has seen a surge in exploration activity from the industry over the last few years.

Investopedia Broker Guides: Enhance your trading with the tools from today's top online brokers

Kurdistan Regional Government
Kurdistan is an autonomous region in Iraq and is governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government. The government has signed dozens of production-sharing contracts with oil and gas companies to explore and develop for resources. The Kurdistan Regional Government estimates that current productive capacity in the region is 300,000 barrels of oil per day. Kurdistan is also notable for having all of its prospective acreage located onshore, as the region is landlocked and does not border any offshore areas.

SEE: Oil And Gas Industry Primer

Active Operators
Marathon Oil
(NYSE:MRO) has interests in four exploration blocks in Kurdistan with a total of 368,000 net acres. The company participates on a non-operated basis in the Atrush and Sarsang Blocks in Kurdistan.

In 2011, operator ShaMaran Petroleum (CVE:C.SNM) reported the success of the Atrush-1 well, which encountered net oil pay in a number of Jurassic and Cretaceous formations. Marathon Oil owns a 20% working interest in the Atrush Block.

Another successful well was reported by operator Hillwood International Energy on the Sarsang Block, where Marathon Oil owns a 25% working interest. The Swara Tika-1well produced approximately 7,000 barrels per day of light oil during a test period.

Marathon Oil is planning its own operated exploration program as well, and plans to drill four exploration wells in 2012 and 2013 on the Harir and Safen blocks.

Talisman Energy (NYSE:TLM) operates three blocks in Kurdistan and has drilled two successful exploration wells here since 2010. The company discovered natural gas and condensate at the Kurdamir-1 well in 2010, and found indications of liquid hydrocarbons here. The Topkhana-1 well drilled by Talisman Energy in 2011 discovered similar resources.

Talisman Energy is working on the Kurdamir-2 well and reported production of 950 barrels of crude oil and condensate and 7.3 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from this well. The company plans to start drilling its first exploration well on the Baranan block in 2012.

SEE: Unearth Profits In Oil Exploration And Production

Murphy Oil (NYSE:MUR) operates and owns a 50% interest in the Central Dohuk Block in Kurdistan, and is currently drilling the Linnava-1 well here. The company is optimistic that this well will be productive, as it is close to several large discoveries made by other operators.

Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) operates the Dinarta and Shakrok Blocks in Kurdistan and plans to drill a minimum of two exploration wells here in 2013 and 2014.

Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) is also involved in Kurdistan and has interests in six blocks, with 848,000 net acres of prospective acreage. The company has not disclosed any exploration activity to date on these blocks.

The Bottom Line
The Kurdistan region of Iraq is a popular place for oil and gas exploration and many operators have moved forward with plans to drill wells in this area.

At the time of writing, Eric Fox did not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Allstate: How Being Boring Earns it Billions (ALL)

    A summary of what Allstate Insurance sells and whom it sells it to including recent mergers and acquisitions that have helped boost its bottom line.
  2. Options & Futures

    Cyclical Versus Non-Cyclical Stocks

    Investing during an economic downturn simply means changing your focus. Discover the benefits of defensive stocks.
  3. Investing Basics

    How to Deduct Your Stock Losses

    Held onto a stock for too long? Selling at a loss is never ideal, but it is possible to minimize the damage. Here's how.
  4. Economics

    Is Wall Street Living in Denial?

    Will remaining calm and staying long present significant risks to your investment health?
  5. Stock Analysis

    When Will Dick's Sporting Goods Bounce Back? (DKS)

    Is DKS a bargain here?
  6. Investing News

    How AT&T Evolved into a Mobile Phone Giant

    A third of Americans use an AT&T mobile phone. How did it evolve from a state-sponsored monopoly, though antitrust and a technological revolution?
  7. Stock Analysis

    Home Depot: Can its Shares Continue Climbing?

    Home Depot has outperformed the market by a wide margin in the last 12 months. Is this sustainable?
  8. Stock Analysis

    Yelp: Can it Regain its Losses in 2016? (YELP)

    Yelp investors have had reason to be happy recently. Will the good spirits last?
  9. Stock Analysis

    Is Walmart's Rally Sustainable? (WMT)

    Walmart is enjoying a short-term rally. Is it sustainable? Is Amazon still a better bet?
  10. Stock Analysis

    GoPro's Stock: Can it Fall Much Further? (GPRO)

    As a company that primarily sells discretionary products, GoPro and its potential falls right in line with consumer trends. Is that good or bad?
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between issued share capital and subscribed share capital?

    The difference between subscribed share capital and issued share capital is the former relates to the amount of stock for ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center