Iraq West Qurna 2 Seen at 500.000 bdp in 2014: Oil Minister

Production at Iraq’s West Qurna Phase-2 oilfield is expected to hit 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2014, Iraq’s oil minister said on Wednesday, after drilling of the first oil well began.

Iraq is seen to be the world’s biggest source of new oil supplies over the next few years after signing contracts for big development projects with major oil companies. The supergiant oilfield in the south is managed by Russia’s LUKOIL.

“This is the first oil well out of 23 wells to be drilled as (part of) the first phase of developing the West Qurna Two oilfield,” Abdul Kareem Luaibi told Reuters while getting ready to climb a rig to press a button to commence the drilling.

He said output at the field was expected to reach 150,000 bpd in 2013.

Iraq’s oil production had been held back by decades of war and sanctions, but officials say they now expect it to rise quickly.

The head of state-run South Oil Co. said on Friday output from Iraq’s southern oilfields was seen reaching 2.75 million bpd by the end of the year.