Russia's Gazprom Neft expects to start commercial production at Iraq's Badra (Badrah) gas field in August 2013, according to Reuters.
Initial production is expected to be 15,000 barrels per day.
The company said it commenced drilling the first appraisal well on Thursday.
"The results of the initial appraisal wells will allow us to better understand the geology of the location, produce a definitive operating plan and move to commercial production of at least 15,000 barrels of oil per day in August 2013," Vadim Yakovlev, Gazprom Neft's first deputy head, said in a statement.
In January, Iraq signed a deal with Gazprom Neft, Turkey's TPAO, Korea's Kogas and Malaysia's Petronas to develop Badra oilfield, which has estimated reserves of 100 million barrels of oil. The field is near Iraq's border with Iran.