Russia’s Lukoil starts output from giant Iraq oil field
Russia’s oil giant, Lukoil, has begun pumping crude oil from one of the world’s largest undeveloped oil fields in southern Iraq, as the Arab country works to bolster its oil exports.
During a Saturday ceremony to inaugurate the West Qurna-2 field in Iraq’s southern city of Basra, Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said crude production at the massive oil field is expected to reach some 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), from an initial 120,000 bpd.
The Iraqi minister further expressed hope that the country’s oil output could possibly reach four million bpd by the end of this year.
“This is a historic and great accomplishment that would enable the government to implement its development programs by increasing its revenues,” added Luaibi.
Lukoil Chief Executive Vagit Alekperov also hailed the launch of West Qurna-2 as “strategically important” for the Russian company, which is the principal firm developing the enormous West Qurna-2 field.
The inauguration of West Qurna-2 will allow Russia’s second oil producer to more than double its overseas crude output.
Earlier in the day, Dhiya Jaafar, the head of Iraq’s South Oil Company, said oil exports from southern Iraq have averaged 2.48 million bpd so far this month and would rise to 2.65 million following the inauguration of West Qurna-2.
West Qurna-2, with an estimated 14 million barrels of recoverable reserves, is the second biggest untapped oil field after Rumaila in southern Iraq.
Iraq is dependent on oil exports for government revenue and is working to boost its oil sales. The Arab country has proven reserves of 143.1 billion barrels of oil as well as 3.2 trillion cubic meters of gas.
Baghdad seeks to increase its crude production capacity to nine million bpd by 2017.