NORWAY: In January, Marathon Oil was awarded a 20 percent non-operated working interest in Production License (PL) 694 by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy as part of the country's 2012 Awards in Predefined Areas (APA 2012). PL 694 consists of three blocks south of the Sverdrup prospect area in the northern part of the Norwegian Sea. Also as part of APA 2012, Marathon Oil and its partners were awarded additional acreage in the North Sea north of the Alvheim area in PL 203 B. The Company's 65 percent working interest and role as operator are the same as PL 203.
The Darwin (formerly Velsemoy) exploration well in the Barents Sea is expected to begin drilling in the first quarter of 2013 on PL 531, in which the Company holds a 10 percent non-operated working interest. Drilling is expected to commence in the third quarter of 2013 on the Sverdrup exploration well on license PL 330 where the Company holds a 30 percent non-operated working interest.
KURDISTAN: In December, Marathon Oil reached total depth of approximately 12,500 feet on its first operated exploration well on the Harir block in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The well was tested and is now being plugged and abandoned. The Company plans to spud two exploration wells on its operated blocks in the first half of 2013. One well will be drilled on the Harir block and the other on the Safen block. Marathon Oil holds a 45 percent working interest in each block.
Additionally, following the successful appraisal program on the outside-operated Atrush block, a Declaration of Commerciality has been filed with the Ministry of Natural Resources and a Plan of Development is anticipated in the second quarter of 2013. On the outside-operated Sarsang block, the Mangesh exploration well was spud in September and the Gara exploration well was spud in November. Both wells are currently drilling and are expected to reach total depth in the first half of 2013. Marathon Oil holds a 20 percent working interest in the Atrush block and a 25 percent working interest in the Sarsang block.