A consortium led by Russia’s Gazprom has started producing oil at the Badra field in eastern Iraq four years after signing a development contract with the Baghdad government.

Production is expected to ramp up to 15,000 barrels a day (b/d), after three months of testing the crude processing system.

The first line, which was connected to Iraq’s oil pipeline network in March, has been built with a capacity of 60,000 b/d and will be expanded to reach a peak of 170,000 b/d, in line with Gazprom’s plans.

UK-based Petrofac was awarded a $330m engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the project’s central production facility (CPF) in February 2012.

Gazprom has a 30 per cent stake in the consortium developing the Badra field, with smaller stakes held by Korea Gas Corporation (22.5 per cent), Malaysia’s Petronas (15 per cent) and Turkey-based TPAO (7.5 per cent). State-owned Iraqi Oil Exploration Company owns a 25 per cent share.