Russia’s Lukoil announced this week that it began drilling new production wells at the 400,000 b/d West Qurna-2 field (Lukoil 75%op, North Oil Company 25%) as part of its second phase to ramp up output. The firm says it has “so far” concluded contracts for 57 production wells – almost all of which are targeting the prolific Mishrif formation. Output is slated to rise to 480,000 b/d by 2020 – one of several fields contributing to Iraq’s growing production capacity (MEES, 11 January).As per Lukoil’s production plateau target (PPT) agreement, the firm is obligated to reach production of 800,000 b/d by 2025.

Drilling activity in Iraq is at the highest level since mid-2014 with services firm Baker Hughes reporting 62 active rigs. State firm Basra Oil Company has recently made two key 40-well awards for the 240,000 b/d Majnoon field: late last year to international services giant Schlumberger and last week to the state-owned Iraq Drilling Company. (CONTINUED - 153 WORDS)