Russia’s Gazprom has drilled its first appraisal well at the Badra oil field in the eastern Wasit province of Iraq and hopes to see commercial production in 2013.

Gazprom hopes to reach a depth of 4,900 metres by May next year, according to a 25 November company release.

Drilling will begin on a second well before the end of 2011 and a deeper well, hitting 6,200 metres is slated for mid-2012.

The company’s deputy chief executive, Vadim Yakovlev says the results of the initial appraisal wells will allow a better understanding of the geology of the Badra deposit, to produce a definitive operating plan. Commercial production of 15,000 barrels a day (b/d) could begin by August 2013.

Gazprom selected US oil field services firm, Schlumberger in June for a three-year drilling deal for 11 wells using three rigs (MEED 12:8:11).

Bids were submitted in early October by four firms for a deal to build three oil production trains with a total capacity of 165,000 b/d, costing an estimated $250m-300m.

Gazprom leads a consortium along with Turkey’s TPAO, Malaysia’s Petronas and South Korea’s Kogas. The group plan to lift production at the field to 170,000 b/d at the currently inactive reservoir, for a fee of $5.50 a barrel.