Gazprom Neft has started production at the Badra oilfield in Iraq following delays over security fears and geological challenges.
The Russian player continues to test the crude oil processing system of the central gathering system at the field in Wasit province.
Once this is completed in about three months, production is planned to be taken to 15,000 barrels per day of oil.
Peak production is set to hit 170,000 bpd in 2017, remaining at this level for seven years, with a total of 17 production wells and five injection wells planned.
The explorer had originally pegged August 2013 for commercial start-up before delaying entry to production over securityand geologicalchallenges.
In March it hooked up the field to the Gharraf oilfield in Nasiriyah province with a 165-kilometre pipeline connection to the Iraqi pipeline system. The pipeline will have a capacity of 240,000 barrels per day of oil and can supply the oil export terminal in Basra.
Gazprom Neft said in early January it was close to bringing onstream the first 60,000-barrel-a-day capacity line of the 170,000-barrel central gathering facility it is building for the field in eastern Iraq.
Preparations to build a 1.5 million cubic metre annual capacity gas conversion plant are also under way.
Gazprom Neft operates the Badra field on a 30% stake with the state holding Iraqi Oil Exploration Company on 25%, Korea Gas Corporation on 22.5%, Malaysia’s Petronas on 15% and Turkey’s TPAO on 7.5%.