BASRA, Iraq, April 25 (UPI) -- Russian oil company Lukoil announced it started production drilling and the construction of a production facility at the West Qurna-2 field in Iraq.
Lukoil said it planned to drill 23 directional wells at the oil field in southern Iraq.
"We have opened the active field development stage today," Lukoil President Vagit Alekperov said in a statement from Iraq.
More than a dozen oil and natural gas blocks go up for auction next month in Iraq's fourth international licensing round. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Sharistani, a former oil minister, said Iraq was about six years away from producing 10 million barrels of oil per day.
Lukoil said West Qurna-2 is the second largest undeveloped oil field in the world. The field, near Basra, is expected to hold around 14 billion barrels of oil.
The Russian oil company said it has the right to reimbursements and remuneration once production at West Qurna-2 reaches the 150,000 bpd per day mark.
It had expected a production level of 1.8 million barrels of oil per day by 2017.