OREANDA-NEWS.  Gazprom Neft is currently involved in developing four projects in Iraq, three of which are located in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), with Gazprom Neft Middle East having interests in the Garmian, Halabja and Shakal blocks, holding an 80-percent interest in the Halabja and Shakal fields (the remainder being held by the Kurdistan Regional Government). Two exploration wells were drilled at the Shakal block in August 2014, with pilot testing now ongoing.

The company currently has a 40-percent interest in the Garmian block, and is due to become operator on this project in 2015. Detailed field appraisal on this block is currently ongoing in preparation for its being opened up for large-scale development, with the Kurdistan Regional Government currently assessing preliminary plans, to that end.

Gazprom Neft’s fourth project in Iraq concerns the development of the Badra field, located in the Wassit province, in the east of the country. Preliminary investigations suggest reserves at the Badra field could total as much as three billion barrels of oil. Gazprom Neft is operator on this project, with a 30-percent interest. Commercial production at the Badra field commenced in August 2014.

Gazprom Neft implements corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes throughout all of those regions in which it operates, undertaking initiatives directed at improving quality of life for local populations. In particular, under the auspices of its Middle East Scholarship Program Gazprom Neft Middle East has, since 2014, arranged educational programmes for 32 Kurdish students, selected through competition, at some of the most significant academic establishments in Russia.