Manas Petroleum Corporation has reported that drilling of the first of two shallow exploration wells by the Kyrgyz joint venture, South Petroleum Company (SPC) is expected to commence within the next weeks. The prospects to be drilled are from a series of shallow prospects first identified after reprocessing Soviet seismic and then subsequently confirmed with seismic acquired by SPC in 2008 and early 2009.

SPC is the Kyrgyz joint venture company created to explore and develop Manas 5 Kyrgyz licenses.

This shallow drill program is the result of the highly successful SPC seismic program. The program has greatly matured the licenses’ deeper prospects while also defining shallow prospects that are within a few kilometers of existing light oil production.

Over 800 kilometers of 2D seismic has been shot by SPC. This includes about 240 kilometers of 2D seismic acquired by an Iranian crew using a French Sercel 408 station and Nomad 65 vibrators. A further 200 kilometers of seismic is expected to be acquired this year.

The first well is to test the North Ayzar prospect which is in the SPC’s Tuzluk license. The rig is a 650hp Chinese Zj20 which is capable of drilling up to 2400 meters deep. Major service contractors and the rig are currently in the process of being mobilized from the North of Kyrgyzstan to the drilling location. The Northern Ayzar-1 well is to test the established oil saturated paleogene sandstone and limestone strata from 1650 to 1900 meters in depth. The depth of the total well is two kilometers (6,561 feet) and should take about three to four weeks to drill. The prospect is about five kilometers northeast of the Beshkent Togap Tashravat field and 10 kilometers southwest of the Niyazbek-Severnity Karachikum oil field.

The second planned well is to test the East Chongora prospect, which is within the Soh license area. The Eastern Chongara exploration well is to test the same oil saturated paleogene sandstone and limestone beds which have been producing oil from the neighboring North Soh oil and gas field , and the Chongara Gulacha oil field, for over 60 years.

In the event of exploration success, and to eliminate standby time costs, testing of the wells will commence once both wells have been drilled and completed. The drilling by Santos-SPC of the deep subthrust prospects is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2010.