Russia’s Gazprom Neft has delayed the opening of crude oil production facilities at the Badra oil field until 2014, citing security concerns, following a series of clashes with local Shia groups in the south of Iraq.

The launch of the field has been delayed from December, due to “the failure on the part of certain contractors to fulfil their contractual obligations and certain issues related to the safety and security of employees and property”, Gazprom said in a 19 November Eurobond prospectus, Reuters reports.

The delay comes just a week after Shia protesters attacked drilling sites at the Rumaila oil field used by US oil field services firms Baker Hughes and Schlumberger.

Gazprom also cited logistical problems, such as delays in obtaining tender approvals by Iraqi authorities, as well as at customs.

Oil Minister Abdulkarim al-Luaibi visited the Badra oil field on 30 October, announcing that it was on course to produce 60,000 barrels a day (b/d) by March 2014. Gazprom aims to increase production to 170,000 b/d by 2017.