Russia's LUKOIL, the nation's second-largest producer of oil, told Reuters today that they will start drilling at a major Iraqi oilfield next week.
Company head Vagit Alekperov said they will start off by drilling "27 wells" at Iraq's Qurna-2, listed by Oil&Gas Journal as the world's largest undeveloped oilfield.
LUKOIL intends to produce 150,000 barrels of oil per day from the field in 2013, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The oil giant has already sunk some $200 million in the project, a company source told Bloomberg, adding that the firm plans to invest a further $2 billion.
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"Given the size of Iraq's undeveloped giants there are no technical reasons why within 10 years the country can't supplant both Iran and Russia to become the world's No. 2 oil producer after Saudi Arabia," according to Forbes.
Meanwhile, the December withdrawal of US troops from Iraq has formally ended years of bloody sectarian violence brought on by the 2003 US invasion, conflict that left the nation's economy and infrastructure in shambles.
Investments by LUKOIL and others, therefore, are seen as critical to the country's full recovery.
LUKOIL head Andrey Kuzyaev told the Oil&Gas Journal last month that resources in Iraq, Uzbekistan and West Africa are the company's top priorities for future investment and production.