The partners developing the West Qurna phase-1 oil field in the south of Iraq have lifted production to 300,000 barrels a day (b/d) and hopes to reach 400,000 b/d by the end of 2011.

Iraq’s state-owned South Oil Company (SOC) is working with international oil majors, ExxonMobil of the US and UK-Dutch Shell at the field.

“SOC, ExxonMobil and its partners are celebrating realising the primary production target as to West Qurna-1 oil field after signing its development contract which is raising the field’s productivity from 200,000 barrels to 300,000 barrels,” says Diyaa Jaafar al-Moussawi, South Oil Company manager, Aswat al-Iraq news agency reports.

ExxonMobil led a consortium with the UK/Dutch Shell Group that finalised a deal in January 2010 to take on the first-phase development of the 8.7 billion barrel oil field, agreeing to boost production from current levels of about 280,000 b/d to 2.33 million b/d. It will receive $1.90 for every barrel of oil it produces over an agreed minimum production level.

ExxonMobil says it intends to drill 20 new wells this year. It has awarded oil field services firm Halliburton a second contract to provide drilling services for 15 wells at the field using three drilling rigs (MEED 12:4:11).