Afren thinks it might have struck it big in the Kurdistan region of Iraq with its Simrit-2 exploration well.
Preliminary analysis of data collected during and after drilling indicates that the well has encountered an estimated 409 metres of net oil pay. No oil water contact has been established, the firm said.
Having drilled down to a depth of 3,700 metres the site operator, Hunt Oil Middle East, will continue drilling a further 100 metres to test for additional zones of prospectivity. Afren has a 20% interest in the Ain Sifni site.
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Once drilling operations have concluded, a well testing programme will be carried out, after which the drilling rig will be mobilised to drill the Simrit-3 exploration well.
Osman Shahenshah, Chief Executive of Afren, said: "The successful result of the Simrit-2 exploration well represents a second major exploration success for Afren in 2012, following on from the Okoro East discovery offshore south east Nigeria. The scale of the oil column that has been intersected suggests that the Simrit structure and surrounding prospects elsewhere on the Ain Sifni PSC have the potential to be transformational for Afren".
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