Independent Norwegian oil firm DNO said Monday that preliminary testing of the Tawke #1 well in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq confirmed gross recoverable oil reserves of approximately 100 million barrels.

The testing resulted in a maximum flow rate of 5,000 barrels of good quality oil per day that was restricted by well equipment.

Commenting on the results, Managing Director Helge Eide said that the crude obtained from the Tawke #1 tests was sufficient for the installation of production facilities, with a target of pumping oil in the first quarter of 2007.

This development would make DNO the first Western firm to produce oil in Iraq since the 2003 United States-led invasion.

DNO reached an agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) last year to drill in the region. On April 10, 2006, in consultation with the government, DNO decided to perform several tests in Tawke #1.

The objectives of the well tests were to evaluate the production capacity of the individual reservoir intervals and to determine the characteristics of oil. From a total of six reservoir intervals tested in Tawke #1, four intervals produced oil and two tests produced formation water.

However, only one of the oil-bearing reservoir intervals produced a commercial flow rate. Other oil bearing intervals were not tested due to formation damage caused during drilling.