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Petrotahlil - DNO (FRA: NK1A) has announced the acquisition of ExxonMobil’s (NYSE: XOM) 32 percent interest in the Baeshiqa license in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The deal, which is pending government approval, doubles DNO’s operated stake to 64 percent and sees ExxonMobil exit the asset. DNO said it plans to continue an exploration and appraisal program on the license while fast tracking early production from existing wells in 2021.

“By increasing our stake in the Baeshiqa license now, we demonstrate our belief in its ultimate potential,” Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani, DNO’s executive chairman, said in a company statement.

“Following the stabilization of oil prices and export payments in Kurdistan, DNO is stepping up spending on new opportunities,” he added in the statement.

Following the completion of the deal, the remaining partners in the license would comprise TEC, with a 16 percent stake, and the Kurdistan Regional Government, with a 20 percent carried interest. DNO previously bought a 32 percent interest in the Baeshiqa license from ExxonMobil, and assumed operatorship of the asset, back in 2018.

The 125 square mile Baeshiqa license is said to contain two large structures, Baeshiqa and Zartik, which have multiple independent stacked target reservoir systems, including in the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic, DNO pointed out. In addition to the Baeshiqa license, DNO operates the Tawke license, containing the Tawke and Peshkabir fields, in Kurdistan. Gross operated production from the Tawke license averaged 110,300 barrels of oil per day in 2020, DNO highlighted.

DNO is a Norwegian oil and gas operator focused on the Middle East and the North Sea. Founded in 1971, the business holds stakes in onshore and offshore licenses at various stages of exploration, development and production in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Norway, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Ireland and Yemen, its website notes.

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