UPDATE 1-UAE govt owned Taqa gets Kurdistan oilfield all clear

Mon Oct 7, 2013 4:08am EDT
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By Daniel Fineren

DUBAI Oct 7 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) has received approval from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to develop the Atrush Block in the autonomous region of Iraq, the state-controlled company said on Monday.

Deals between foreign investors and the KRG to develop oilfields have angered the federal government in Baghdad, which rejects them as illegal.

The government of Abu Dhabi holds a 72.5 percent stake in Taqa but, like several western oil majors, is tapping into the region's oil reserves despite the risk of angering Baghdad.

"The Kurdistan region of Iraq is an exciting exploration frontier and has tremendous potential," David Cook, head of oil and gas at Taqa, said in a statement.

The first development phase of Atrush is expected to produce around 30,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), with first oil expected by early 2015.

Subject to KRG approval and further field appraisals, a second phase could add 30,000 bpd of oil production, along with some associated gas for the domestic market.

Kurdistan's relatively safe operating environment, compared with southern Iraq, and favourable production-sharing terms have attracted western majors such as Exxon, Chevron and Total SA to the region, despite threats of blacklisting from Baghdad.   Continued...