- Gulf Keystone has spudded the Shaikan-5 appraisal well in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Shaikan-5 is the third deep appraisal well to be drilled on the company's major oil discovery with independently audited gross oil-in-place volumes of between 4.9 billion barrels and 10.8 billion barrels calculated on the P90 to P10 basis with a mean value of 7.5 billion barrels.

Shaikan-5 is being drilled 6 km to the north-east of the Shaikan-2 appraisal well.

The well will target prospective intervals in the Jurassic and Triassic to reach the planned total depth of approximately 3,500 metres.

Gulf Keystone is the operator of the Shaikan block with a working interest of 75% and is partnered with Kalegran, a subsidiary of MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas, and Texas Keystone which have working interests of 20 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.

Gulf Keystone chief operating officer John Gerstenlauer said: "We are very pleased with the progress of our drilling operations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Shaikan-5 is the ninth well to be drilled across the company's four adjacent blocks in the space of 30 months.

"Six out of these nine wells have been drilled on the Shaikan and Sheikh Adi blocks which Gulf Keystone operates.

"With two discoveries on the Shaikan and Akri-Bijeel blocks under our belt, we eagerly anticipate further results from the Sheikh Adi block with estimated resources of 1 (P90) to 3 (P10) billion barrels of gross oil-in-place.

"The second exploration well on the Sheikh Adi block will spud in early 2012, when results are also expected from the first exploration well recently spudded on the Ber Bahr block."

At 8:19am: [LON:GKP] Gulf Keystone Petroleum share price was -0.25p at 136p

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