A joint venture of US oil firm, Hess and Irish exploration firm, Petroceltic International has drilled its first oil well at its Shakrok oil license in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The companies plan to drill the Shakrok-1 well to a total depth of approximately 3,000 metres over the next 150 days, according to a 2 September statement from Petroceltic.

The well targets Jurassic and Triassic fractured carbonate reservoirs. In August 2012, independent petroleum consultants De Golyer and McNaughton estimated the prospect contains 650 million barrels of recoverable oil.

The pair signed a production sharing agreement in July 2011 with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for the Shakrok and Dinarta exploration blocks in the central northern area of Iraqi Kurdistan. Hess is the operator of the licenses with a 64 per cent stake, while Petroceltic holds 16 per cent and the KRG holds the remaining 20 per cent.

So far structural modelling of the Shakrok license has been completed while 2D seismic acquisition and processing is ongoing.