Russia’s OAO Lukoil (OTCMKTS:LUKOY) expects oil production in the West Qurna-2 field, part of a $4 billion investment in Iraqi oil, to begin next year.

The site, believed to hold 14 billion barrels of recoverable reserves, saw protests in March as droves of demonstrators blocked the entrance to a central processing plant in the field. The Iraqi army was sent to break up the picketers.

“Production drilling has already begun at the deposit,” CEO Vagit Alekperov said, according to Interfax. “The first industrial oil volumes are expected at the beginning of 2014.”

Alekperov said peak production should yield 60 million tons a year.

A spokesman for Lukoil did not respond to an email requesting comment.

The Moscow-based company owns 75 percent of the field considering Norway’s Statoil ASA (NYSE:STO) backed out of the project last year, Bloomberg reported. The other 25 percent is owned by Iraq's government.