An oil pump jack in an oil field near the city of Almetyevsk. (Photo Credit: Yegor Aleyev/TASS)

A contractor working for the Iranian Oil Ministry says production from a joint oilfield located at the border with Iraq is to begin soon.

Gholamreza Manouchehri, the CEO of OIEC Group, a major oil and gas contractor company in Iran, said on Wednesday that a development project for the Azar Oilfield, which shares its reserves with the Badra Oilfield in neighboring Iraq, is almost complete.

Manouchehri said the Iranian government will inaugurate a first phase of commercial operations at Azar Oilfield in the near future to produce 65,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from the oilfield.

He said the government had spent 1.4 billion euros ($1.72 billion) for the massive project, a bulk of which had come from the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

Despite being under a series of harsh American sanctions, Iran has accelerated its development programs for oil and gas fields that are shared with neighboring countries.

raq has been pumping over 250,000 bpd of oil from the Barda reserve which is adjacent to Azar oilfield. The Iraqis have enjoyed the services of Russia’s Gazprom Neft for developing the oilfield.

Manouchehri said development projects for Azar oilfield included drilling 19 wells with modern wellhead structures, building oil and gas export pipelines that stretch nearly 320 kilometers from the field, another 61 kilometers of new oil pipelines and a separate line for transferring natural gas to a nearby flare gas unit.

Iran started pilot production from Azar oilfield in March 2016 with an initial output of 15,000 bpd. Production was then raised to 30,000 bpd in 2017 to ensure the 65,000-bpd target would be within reach in the first phase of commercial operation planned for early 2021.