BP expects to start natural gas production from Oman’s Khazzan field by 2017 at a rate of 1 bcf a day, a senior executive from the British oil major said on Monday.

“2017 is when we plan to have the first gas from the field, and that ramps up to 1 bcf a day – it may actually ramp up to 1 bcf a day very quickly,” Michael Townshend, president of BP Middle East, told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

The company plans to drill 20 wells in 2015, boosting that number to 50 wells in the next couple of years, and is already building a plant to handle the first 1 bcf of gas, he said.

Total investment in the first phase to reach the initial gas production target will be $16 billion, he added. BP has previously said it expects to invest around $9.6 billion, in accordance with its 60% stake in the project; state-owned Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production has 40%. BP said last October that it had awarded two drilling contracts worth $730 million for the project.

Source: Reuters