* Badra field output to reach 170,000 bpd of crude by 2017
* Fresh concerns over safety after last week's violence
MOSCOW, Jan 9 (Reuters)-Gazprom Neft, the
oil-producing arm of top Russian gas firm Gazprom,
said it had produced first oil in well-testing at its Badra
oilfield in Iraq and planned to start commercial production
there this year.
"With well testing completed we are one step closer to
beginning commercial production at the Badra field," Vadim
Yakovlev, Gazprom Neft first deputy chief executive, said in a
statement on Thursday.
In November, the company said it was postponing initial
production at Badra until 2014 due to safety concerns and
Large-scale production at the Badra field is now likely to
begin as early as later this year, Yakovlev said.
Recent violence in Iraq, in part a spillover from
neighbouring Syria, has increased concerns about security, even
while the government is hoping that this year will bring the
biggest annual rise in oil exports in a decade.
Gazprom Neft said successful testing at the BD4 appraisal
well took place at the end of December, with a daily natural
flow rate of 7,000 barrels of oil.
Badra's output is expected to reach 170,000 barrels per day
(bpd) of crude oil by 2017, or approximately 8.5 million tonnes
per year, and is expected to remain at this level for seven
years, the company added.