Genel Energy reportedly aims to ramp up oil output from its Taq Taq field in Iraqi Kurdistan by as much as 23% by the end of this month despite the advance of Islamic State (IS) militants.
"We have a target to ramp up production towards 140,000 barrels per day and I believe we would achieve this by the end of the month," Onder Tekeli, general manager of Taq Taq Operating Company (TTOPCO), was quoted as saying by Reuters.
That would represent an increase of about 26,500 bpd from the current level of 113,500 bpd at the field, run by the joint venture of Genel and Sinopec-owned Addax Petroleum.
Overall oil output in the semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq is said to have fallen by about 5000 bpd as international oil companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total, as well as Genel and Afren, have started pulling out non-essential staff while others such as Petroceltic and Taqa have suspended operations.
Radical Sunni fighters with IS advanced to within about 40 kilometres of Kurdish capital Erbil last week and carried out an attack at the Makhmour camp to the south-west of the city before US military air strikes thwarted their advance.
However, Tekeli said morale remained good at Taq Taq – the largest producing oilfield in Kurdistan – that lies 40 kilometres south-east of Erbil.
"The worries started about the IS fighters when they attacked the Makhmour camp. But we have not stopped working and our local staffers have expressed their commitment to us," he said.
The field’s production superintendent Ozan Guler said TTOPCO will set up three wellsite production facilities to boost output.
"We already have the potential to boost production up to 140,000 bpd in our wells… We will be setting up these new facilities whose start-up period is about 10 days," Guler said.
London-listed Genel, which operates Taq Taq and is a partner in the DNO-operated Tawke oilfield in Kurdistan, has said it has evacuated non-core personnel from fields in the region that are not producing oil.
Last week it said production was still ongoing at the two fields and it was averaging a combined 230,000 bpd.
DNO is also looking to ramp up output at Tawke to 200,000 bpd by the end of this year.