WorleyParsons has been awarded a major design contract, for the West Qurna-2 oil field in the south of Iraq.

The estimated $30m deal involves the Australian firm carrying out front-end engineering and design (Feed) work for the full field development of the Yamama reservoir of the West Qurna-2 oil field, operated by Russia’s Lukoil.

WorleyParsons will also prepare the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) tender documents for new facilities at the field.

The design deal was tendered by Lukoil in the middle of 2012, but according to sources close to the project, the deal was delayed by the energy firm’s discussions with the Oil Ministry over the final plateau production target.

Lukoil became the first international oil company in Iraq to renegotiate the terms of its technical services agreement in January 2013, reducing the plateau target to 1.2 million barrels a day (b/d), from the original 1.8 million b/d target.

The Russian firm is currently developing the Mishrif reservoir, which is expected to produce up to 700,000 b/d. Another 1.1 million b/d of capacity was planned to come from the deeper Yamama reservoir, although this number is thought to now have been cut.

Yamama is a layered carbonate formation that has no aquifer support so requires significant gas or water injection for production.

Production at West Qurna-2 is expected to start up in April, and Lukoil plans to ramp up production to 400,000 b/d before the end of 2014.