The West Qurna-2 field in south Iraq, which is being developed by Russia's Lukoil, will reach an output of 150,000 barrels per day by the end of 2013, Iraq's oil minister said on Wednesday.
"Lukoil has a plan to dig 23 wells this year and next year," Abdelkarim Luaybi told a news conference marking the start of work at the field, 80 kilometres (49 miles) north of the southern port city of Basra.
"Their plan ... is to produce 150,000 barrels (per day) by the end of 2013, and this production will increase to reach 500,000 barrels per day in the second half of 2014," Luaybi said
A consortium led by Lukoil won a contract in December 2009 to increase oil production at West Qurna-2.
Under a 2010 contract, the 20-year deal, extendible by five years, the companies receive fees of $1.15 per barrel extracted.
Lukoil holds 56.25 percent stake in the group, while Norway's Statoil has 18.75 percent and Iraq's state oil company the remaining 25 percent.
However, Statoil said in March it is in the process of ceding its stake in the project to the Russian firm, a move that has been approved by authorities in Baghdad.
Oil sales account for the vast majority of Iraqi government income and around two-thirds of gross domestic product. Iraq is seeking to significantly boost its oil output, which currently stands at around 3 million barrels per day.