Norwegian oil firm DNO International said it is ramping up oil production in Iraq as it confirmed an oil discovery in the country's resource-rich Tawke field and has resumed drilling operations in Yemen.
DNO, which explores and produces oil and gas in Iraq and Yemen and plans to expand activities in North Africa and the Middle East, had a gross production of 50,948 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter in the Kurdistan region, making up the bulk of the company's output.
"In parallel with its stepped up operational activities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the company continues to ramp up production and sales of oil to the local market," it said in a statement on Thursday, without providing further details.
Asked how higher production and sales in Kurdistan could affect earnings, DNO spokesman Tom Bratlie said: "We expect that the second quarter will be in line with our guidance."
DNO shares were up marginally in early trade, outperforming a small decline on the Oslo benchmark index.
DNO also confirmed oil in its Peshkabir-1 well, in an area west of its prize Tawke field in the Kurdistan region, which is currently producing oil.
It will now undertake a detailed evaluation of the results, temporarily suspending the well for possible reentry later this year.
DNO, one of the first oil firms to enter Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, is halfway to its planned 3,085-metre depth in its Tawke-18 well.
DNO has been aiming for Tawke to produce 100,000 barrels per day before the end of this year.
DNO also provided an update on its activities in Yemen, where it has restarted active operations following the return of service contractors and rig personnel.
Yemen's oil and gas pipelines have long been targets of attacks by militants in the unstable and impoverished country, but attacks on energy infrastructure have become more frequent since anti-government protests last year created a power vacuum.
Drilling in DNO's Tsour-27 well was due to start on July 2 while the company expects to produce its first oil in Yaalen at the end of 2013. Early production capabilities in this well could deliver 5,000 barrels of oil per day and output could double at a later stage, the firm said.
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