The UK’s Gulf Keystone has issued an oil field reserves estimate for its Shaikan-1 exploration well located 85 kilometres northwest of Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq following an independent evaluation.

The company said oil in place for its Shaikan well, which was tested to a depth of 2,055 metres, is estimated to be a gross 1 billion to 5.3 billion barrels.

Gulf Keystone continues to drill the well up to 3,500 metres and expects the reserves estimate to increase further.

In October 2008, the company estimated reserves of up to 2 billion barrels of oil at the wider Shaikan block, following the completion of a 2D seismic survey.

The firm says the 2 billion barrel reservoir figure was estimated by its technical staff following the analysis of 171 kilometres of seismic studies from an overall block area of 283 square kilometres.