Despite the unresolved export wrangles with Baghdad, the lack of a government in Erbil and potentially protracted payments arbitration with key investor Dana Gas (see p21), the region’s upstream activities continue apace with heavyweights such as ExxonMobil confirming the start of exploration in one of its six blocks.

Russian Gazprom Neft said on 5 February that it expects the consortium developing the KRG’s Garmian block, in which it has a 40% stake, to declare a commercial discovery and start test production later in the year though it did not provide any figures. The block is operated by Canadian WesternZagros. (CONTINUED - 259 WORDS)