Russia’s Gazprom, the developer of the Badra oil field in the Wasit Province of eastern Iraq, has pushed back the deadline by three weeks for two pipeline building contracts worth an estimated $400m.

Bids are now due to be submitted on 5 April, instead of the originally planned 15 March deadline, although contractors say there could be further extensions.

Five firms have been prequalified to bid for the export pipeline contract, which will carry crude oil from Badra to the Gharraf field in the south of the country, which is valued up to $300m.

Prequalified firms include:

At least seven firms have also been invited to bid for a smaller deal covering the construction of natural gas, crude oil, water and infield pipelines, on the same deadline.

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

The firm announced on 15 March that it had begun work on the third well at the field, reactivating the Bd-1 oil well and allowing it to test productivity at depths of 16,404 feet. It plans to drill another four wells this year, including a deep exploration well. A final exploration plan will be drawn up in 2013.

First production from the estimated 3 billion barrel field is expected in 2013. By 2017, production should reach a minimum of 170,000 barrels a day (b/d) from 17 operational wells and five injection wells.