KEPCO Starts Drilling in Golestan

KEPCO Starts Drilling in GolestanKEPCO Starts Drilling in Golestan

The National Iranian Drilling Company started its exploratory drilling in Golestan Province for discovering hydrocarbon reserves, Khazar Exploration and Production Company's director for exploration affairs said on Thursday.

“KEPCO and NIDC concluded an exploration drilling contract last month, based on which NIDC began its exploration using Fath 56 drilling rig on Dec.16 in Soufikom region in Aqqala County," Yousef  Etemadi was quoted as saying by Shana.

According to Etemadi, KEPCO specialists conducted geological, structural and two-dimensional seismic surveys in Aqqala County in a 1,200-kilometer area two years ago. Subsequent data processing and interpretation resulted in identifying a potential gas trap in the region bordering Turkmenistan.

"Construction of access roads leading to the exploration site was completed and equipment and machinery, worth $780 million, were procured and transferred to the region," he said.

"The exploration drilling was put out to tender and NIDC, bidding the lowest, won the contract."

Pointing to the fact that there is no certainty in exploration activities, Etemadi added, "Plans have been made to conduct exploratory drilling at a depth of 2,400 meters and there is a possibility that by the end of the current Iranian year (March 19, 2016), gas reserves are discovered."

KEPCO is a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company, which oversees the development of reserves located in Iran’s section of the Caspian Sea.

Traditionally an oil-producing area, the Caspian Sea’s importance as a natural gas region is growing fast. Offshore fields account for 41% of total Caspian oil and gas condensates (19.6 billion barrels) and 36% of natural gas (3 trillion cubic meters).

In general, most of the offshore oil reserves are in the northern parts of the sea, while most of the offshore gas reserves are in the southern regions.

Back in 2012, Iran discovered a new oil layer with in-place reserves of two billion barrels in Sardar-e Jangal oil and gas field off the shore of the northern Iranian province of Gilan in the Caspian Sea, which contains quality crude.

Due to the abundance of gas resources in southern Iran, officials have been averse to exploration and expansion of oilfields in the northern regions.

However, the President Hassan Rouhani administration, after taking office in the summer of 2013, has shown special interest in capitalizing Caspian energy resources.