By Aref Mohammed
BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) - Oil major BP
Boosting output from Rumaila, Iraq's most prolific oilfield is vital for the country to realize its ambition of raising oil exports to 6 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2017.
Salah Mohammad said production from the field would rise to 1.450 million bpd by the end of 2013 from around 1.4 million bpd now.
"The approved budget for Rumaila development plan in 2013 will be $2.850 billion," he said.
In 2012, the approved budget for the development of Rumaila was $2.2 billion, of which around $1.9 billion was expended, Mohammed said.
Under the 2013 development plan for Rumaila, BP plans to issue three tenders for the drilling of 150 new oil wells in the second half of this year with each tender covering 50 wells.
"We have plans to drill new 300 oil wells in Rumaila over the next five years," Mohammad said.
BP has also invited engineering companies to build a 300,000-bpd production facility and more than 20 firms are competing for the project. A decision is expected in early 2014.
Rumaila, which BP operates with China's CNPC, has estimated reserves of around 17 billion barrels and produces the bulk of Iraq's total output of more than 3 million bpd now.
The country has the world's fourth-largest oil reserves.
(Additional reporting and writing by Ahmed Rasheed; editing by James Jukwey)