Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russian energy giant Gazprom, may start oil trading operations in Iraq in the second quarter of 2012, General Director Alexander Dyukov said on Friday.
"We plan [to start] trading operations in the second quarter," Dyukov told reporters, adding that the future trading was not linked with the company's production at Iraq's Badra oil field.
"These two projects are not linked with each other at all," he said.
The company's Deputy General Director Vadim Yakovlev said in early February that Gazprom Neft planned to sell 2.5 million tons of oil per year in Iraq.
The Russian company acts as an operator of the Badra deposit with a 30-percent stake in the project. Other participants include South Korea's Kogas with 22.5 percent, Malaysia's Petronas with 15 percent and Iraq's state-owned Oil Exploration Company with 25 percent in the project.
Badra's reserves are estimated at about three billion barrels of oil. The production launch is scheduled for 2013 to reach 170,000 barrels per day or about 8.5 million tons per year by 2017 and maintain this level for seven years.