Gazprom Neft Sees Iraqi Output Start in Spring

Source: Reuters 2/5/2014, Location: Middle East

Russia's Gazprom Neft plans to start commercial oil production in spring at its Badra oilfield in Iraq and hopes for an average output of 15,000 barrels per day (bpd) this year, a company official said.

Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of top Russian gas producer Gazprom, is targeting hydrocarbon production of 100 million tonnes of oil equivalent (2 million bpd) by 2020, up 60 percent from 62.2 million tonnes last year. It earlier postponed initial production at Badra due to safety concerns and logistical problems.

"We plan to start production (at Badra) in spring ... the target of this year is to reach output of 15,000 barrels per day," Vadim Yakovlev, a first deputy chief executive of Gazprom Neft, told reporters.

Its output at Badra has been estimated to reach 170,000 bpd of crude oil by 2017.

Recent violence in Iraq, in part a spillover from neighbouring Syria, has increased concerns about security, even while the government is hoping that this year will bring the biggest annual rise in oil exports in a decade.

The oil field is located in the Wassit Province in eastern Iraq with an estimated 3 billion barrels of oil in place. The Russian company submitted a tender in December 2009 and signed a contract with the government in January 2010 to develop the field.

Since then, Gazprom Neft has had bumpy relations with the central Iraqi government over its plans to develop oil in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, where it has shares in the Garmian, Shakal and Halabja blocks.

Yakovlev said the company plans to announce a commercial discovery at Garmian and start test production at the block this year but declined to elaborate.

Kurdistan alone may produce up to 10 million tonnes of oil equivalent (200,000 barrels per day) at Gazprom Neft's projects by 2020, he said.


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