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Marathon Oil and its partners have received approval from the Kurdistan Regional Government for the first phase in the oil development of the Atrush block in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The Atrush-1 discovery well was drilled in 2011, and is located approximately 50 miles northwest of Erbil. The development project will consist of drilling three production wells and constructing a central processing facility.

Marathon Oil and its partners expect to achieve first production by early 2015 with an estimated initial gross production of approximately 30,000 barrels of oil per day. The approval of the Field Development Plan for Phase 1 provides for a 25-year production period.

“Marathon Oil is pleased with the progress that has been made to advance the development of the Atrush discovery,” said Mitch Little, Marathon Oil vice president of International and Offshore Production Operations. “Approval of the Atrush Phase 1 Development Plan is an important milestone and confirmation of the significant resource potential that prompted our entry into the region in late 2010.”

Marathon Oil’s asset portfolio in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq includes a 25%  non-operated working interest in the Sarsang Block.

They also hold a 45%  working interest in both the Harir and Safen Blocks in which Marathon Oil is the operator.

This announcement comes days after Royal Dutch Shell officially opened the Majnoon oil field in southern Iraq.