Russia’s Lukoil began commercial production from one of the world’s largest untapped oilfields in Iraq on Saturday, as the country raises output to record levels.
Production from the giant West Qurna-2 is eventually expected to reach 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), from an initial 120,000 bpd.
The field is one of several that form the backbone of Iraq’s plans to revive its oil sector and lift the economy after decades of sanctions and war. At a ceremony to inaugurate the field, Iraqi oil minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said output from West Qurna-2 would enable Iraq to reach a production target of 4 million bpd by the end of the year. Output from Iraq, already the second-largest producer in OPEC, averaged 3.5 million bpd in February.
The launch of West Qurna-2, with recoverable reserves estimated at around 14 billion barrels, will allow Lukoil, which holds a 75-per cent stake in the field, to more than double its overseas output.
“The start of production at West Qurna-2 is strategically important for LUKOIL,” said CEO Vagit Alekperov in a statement.
Iraq has set an export target of 3.4 million bpd for 2014, including 400,000 bpd from the Kurdistan region, implying output of 4 million bpd, including oil used domestically.
Iraq has set an export target of 3.4 million bpd for 2014.