Luksar plans to drill a totalof nine wells in its 29,930-square-kilometre contract area, as part of its five-year exploration programme ending 2010. Three wells are planned to be drilled in 2006. The first well Tukhman 3 was drilled to its target depth of 5,000 metres. ‘Initial results have been positive. We have started initial tests and there are strong indications of gas. A final result will be in hand in July.’ The Tukhman structure has the highest rate of success, estimated to be 60 per cent. No decision has been taken as yet on the location of the third well. ‘There is a possibility of changing the site. We will need to negotiate with the Ministry [of Petroleum & Mineral Resources] about the structure on which the well will be drilled.’ The US’ WesternGeco has carried out the 2D and 3D seismic survey. The local Pool Arabia, part of the Bermuda-headquartered Nabors Drilling, and Schlumberger of the US, is the drilling contractor. Bids are due to be submitted to Luksar by 22 July for the contract to build well sites, skid roads and maintenance services. Luksar plans an investment of $215 million under its five-year exploration programme. ‘Despite the rising cost of hiring [drilling] rigs and materials, we are close to our forecast figure and hope to be within budget,’ the official says. Lukoil has the mandate to explore, produce and commercially develop non-associated gas, natural gas liquids (NGL) and condensates under an upstream agreement signed with Aramco in 2003.