Vast Exploration has provided a progress update on the Qara Dagh-1 exploration well at the Qara Dagh Block in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The Qara Dagh well was spudded on 12 May 2010 with a planned total depth of 3,600m-4,000m.

Following the setting of 20" surface casing at 686m, an 8-1/2" pilot hole is currently being drilled down to the 13-3/8" intermediate casing point.

The decision to drill a pilot hole was based on the expected fracture nature of the shallow geological formations, and the ability to better control the drilling in a smaller size hole.

Currently the well is drilling ahead at approximately 1,300m through the top boundary of the Cretaceous age formations, and the company believes there can be up to three potential reservoirs in the Cretaceous with the Shiranish formation being the uppermost perspective reservoir.

During the past several days, drilling gas shows have been observed, which is an indication of hydrocarbons being present in the well bore.

The well plan is to drill through the Shiranish formation and upon positive indications an open hole DST test will be planned and then the plan is to continue drilling to evaluate the prospectivity of the Kometan and Qamchuqa horizons in the Cretaceous.

Drilling is expected to take an additional three months to complete and will target up to seven potential reservoirs in the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic formations.