Hungarian oil and gas group MOL has made an oil and gas discovery in the Akri Bijeel Block in the northern Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The Bijeel-1 well was reported to be flowing 3,200 barrels a day (b/d) of crude and 150 barrels of oil equivalent a day of gas, MOL said in a statement. Although only the first 37 metres were drilled, the reservoir layer encountered in the test is thought to be between 200-250 metres thick.

The results of the test are currently under evaluation, but a second well is expected to be drilled at the block, targeting a depth of approximately 4,300 metres. By late-2010, the company says it will drill a second exploration well, Bekhme-1, at a separate prospect in the Akri Bijeel block.

MOL signed a production sharing agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for the Akri Bijeel block in 2007. As the operator for the block, MOL holds a 80 per cent share, while its partner, London-based Gulf Keystone Petroleum International, holds the remaining 20 per cent (MEED 9:11:07).

Passing its own hydrocarbons law in 2007, the KRG has also signed oil production sharing, development and exploration contracts worth nearly $5bn with more than 35 energy companies over the past two years.

However, these contracts are controversial as the federal government in Baghdad says only it has the right to sign them. As the country awaits the results of the 7 March elections, a resolution to the dispute and a resumption of oil exports from the region will be high on the agenda for the new Iraqi government.