PARIS, June 28 (UPI) -- French supermajor Total announced that it started increasing production at Iraq's Halfaya oil field with a goal of 70,000 barrels of oil per day.
Total is a minority stake holder in a consortium led by PetroChina. Iraq's state South Oil Co. holds a 25 percent stake and Petronas Carigali, the exploration and production subsidiary of the Malaysian energy company, has an 18.8 percent share.
Total announced that the consortium started raising production from facilities tied to the Halfaya oil field in Iraq's southern Missan province. The consortium, the French company said, aims to eventually increase oil field production to 535,000 bpd under the terms of a 20-year development plan.
Yves-Louis Darricarrere, president of exploration and production at Total, said the production step is a milestone for the field's development.
"Total remains committed to accompanying the development of the Iraqi oil industry and is looking at engaging in other projects," he said in a statement.
Iraq in May auctioned 12 oil and natural gas exploration licenses. The country awarded two contracts for oil and one for natural gas.
Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq are the top three among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in terms of oil production.