Russia’s Gazprom Neft has begun well testing at the Badra oil field in the southeast of Iraq ahead of production, which is scheduled to start before the end of the year.

Testing has started at the BD-4 well, which was drilled to a depth of 4,850 metres with a flow rate of 2,000 barrels a day (b/d), according to a 17 April company statement.

BD-4 is expected to be completed by the middle of the year. Seven tests are planned in total to assess the potential of the field.

Gazprom signed an $879m deal with South Korea’s Samsung Engineering in early February for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of a 170,000 b/d central processing facility, as well as a 200 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) gas processing plant at the field. The first phase of the facility, which will process 60,000 b/d is expected to be commissioned by the end of the year.

Gazprom leads the development of the 3-billion-barrel Badra oil field along with Turkey’s TPAO, Malaysia’s Petronas and South Korea’s Kogas.