ShaMaran Petroleum has provided an update on the Atrush-1 exploration well in Kurdistan.

The well was spudded in the first week of October 2010 and 9 5/8" intermediate pipe was set after logging the Jurassic section to the top of Kurrachine at a depth of approximately 2,230m.

The company said that drilling activities have progressed well and results to date have met pre-drill expectations.

The first zone of interest was encountered slightly higher than prognosis at 800m in the Lower Cretaceous Garagu and Lower Sarmord formations.

Below the Garagu shale top seal, a small amount of live oil was visible in the mud pits before total lost circulation occurred, indicating a possible oil-bearing zone with excellent fracture reservoir properties.

Logs suggest a gross fractured interval of 80m with a matrix porosity of 8%.

After setting 13 3/8" casing, drilling continued in the Jurassic Barsarin-Sargelu-Alan-Mus (BSAM) interval.

Oil was encountered continuously at the surface during the drilling of these formations.

An oil-stained core was recovered from the Lower Jurassic Mus formation, which consisted of highly fractured porous dolomite.

The potential gross oil column encountered in the BSAM was 250m, with shows down to the base of the formation with no clear oil-water contact.

Drilling continued in the 12 1/4 inch hole to the third zone of interest of the Lower Jurassic Butmah formation, which was encountered at 1,460m.

The porous dolomite reservoir provided abundant live oil at the surface during drilling until a depth of 1540m, indicating a minimum column of 80m.

The well is being operated by the joint-venture company General Exploration Partners (GEP), which holds an 80% interest in the block.