Russian oil giant Rosneft has temporarily suspended works at one block in Iraq’s semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan due to security concerns because of the blocks’ proximity to the Syrian border, Rosneft’s First Vice President, Eric Maurice Liron, said on Thursday.
Rosneft has signed several agreements with Kurdistan dating back from 2017 and 2018 to cooperate in exploration, production, infrastructure development, logistics, and trading of oil and gas in Kurdistan.
Rosneft has Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) on five production blocks in the Iraqi Kurdistan.
However, in view of the current unrest in Syria, with the Turkish offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria, Rosneft has decided to temporarily halt works on block 8 because it is close to the Iraqi Kurdistan’s border with Syria. Rosneft continues works on block 11 in Kurdistan, Liron told reporters on Thursday, as carried by the Russian news agency TASS.
The Russian oil giant is suspending the works at block 8 until the safety of the company’s employees is guaranteed, Liron said, but noted that Rosneft is in Kurdistan for the long term. Production plans for block 11 remain unchanged, while the closeness to the Syrian border and the safety concerns are the only deterrents to Rosneft’s plans for block 8.
In an interview with TASS, Liron said that this year the Russian company launched exploration works in Kurdistan. The exploration work is set to continue next year and could take several years to complete, according to Rosneft’s manager.
“Currently the company is carrying out 3D seismic operations at one of the areas and is preparing for drilling of exploration wells. The works will continue in 2020 and will take several years,” Liron told TASS.
At one of the fields, Bejil, Rosneft is carrying out experimental production. Following the completion of the geological exploration and experimental production, the company plans to move on to full-scale commercial production, Liron said.