Vast Commences Drilling 1st Iraqi Well
Vast Exploration announced drilling activities have now commenced in Kurdistan where the first exploration well has been spudded, Qara Dagh Well No.1. Drilling is expected to take approximately four to five months to complete and will target up to seven potential reservoirs in the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic formations.
Mr. Ahmed Said, President and CEO, stated, "The spudding of our first well in the Kurdistan Region is a significant milestone for the Company. Given the multiple horizons and the potential for approximately 3 billion barrels of in place reservoir volumes, this is truly an exciting moment for us."
The Qara Dagh Block
Vast Exploration has a 37% interest in the Qara Dagh Block. The Company obtained a 27% interest pursuant to a production sharing contract signed in 2008 with the Kurdistan Regional Government and holds an additional 10% interest in the Qara Dagh block subject to the issue of 60,000,000 Vast common shares in accordance with the directions of the Kurdistan Regional Government. A 354 kilometer 2D seismic program was completed in June 2009. The block covers 846 square kilometers and has a large linear surface anticline, which is on a similar trend as the existing oil fields in northern Iraq and the more recent discoveries in Kurdistan at TaqTaq and Miran. Data processing and interpretations have been completed and integrated with regional and surface geological models. Three main prospects, which correspond to the three domes on the surface structure, have been confirmed by seismic mapping.
The Qara Dagh Block is located in the prolific Zagros fold belt that extends from southern Turkey across northern Iraq and into southwest Iran. Large anticlinal structures, which formed during collision and formation of the Zagros Mountains, contain giant and supergiant accumulations of oil. The large surface structure on the block is known as Qara Dagh Mountain ("Black Mountain" in Kurdish) and is a prominent anticline that rises as high as 600 meters above adjacent valley floors. This 65 kilometer by 5 kilometer feature has steeply dipping limbs and an exhumed central valley which exposes progressively older stratigraphy towards the anticlinal core. The Eocene and Paleocene Pila Spi, Gercus and Sinjar formations of lower Tertiary age extend along the interior slopes of the mountain and the central valley is covered by the Paleocene Kolosh shale.
The subsurface structure is characterized by a large thrust fault, which extends along the length of the southern limb of the surface anticline, and a large fault bend fold in the overthrust section which is comprised of Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic strata.
There has been no prior oil exploration on the Qara Dagh Block and the entire Kurdish area of northern Iraq was virtually unexplored until the Kurdish Regional Government issued new exploration contracts in 2007. To the southwest, the supergiant Kirkuk Field was among the first discoveries in Iraq. Kirkuk and other major fields such as Bai Hassn, Jambur and Kor Mor produce mainly from Tertiary reservoirs; however, to the northeast these formations lose prospectivity as intense deformation has caused the Tertiary formations to be exposed on the land surface. This deformation has resulted in highly fractured subsurface structures formed by the deeper Mesozoic formations. As a result, the main reservoirs at TaqTaq and Miran are formed by the Cretaceous Shiranish, Kometan and Qamchuqa Formations.
Extrapolation from nearby oil fields, recent discoveries and the seismic interpretations indicate seven potential reservoirs on the Qara Dagh structure. Fractured carbonates in the Cretaceous Shiranish, Kometan and Qamchuqa/Balambo Formations are prospective under the Kolosh shale seal and above a rich oil source rock in the Sarmord Formation. The Jurassic Alan, Mus and Butmah Formations are sealed by upper Jurassic anhydrite and charged by the Sargelu Shale that forms a regional oil source rock. Few wells have been drilled into the Triassic; however, the Kurra Chine is productive elsewhere in Iraq and could contain oil or liquids-rich gas at Qara Dagh.
The Company believes the proximity of the Qara Dagh Block to recent discoveries at TaqTaq and Miran and the presence of oil seepages on the block make the Qara Dagh structure a low risk prospect with the potential for the discovery of large oil reserves.