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Chinese oil corporation CNPC has shown interest in developing the giant Majnoon oil field in Iraq, Reuters reported on Monday, citing two Iraqi oil officials, in what may become a tight race among supermajors for the Iraqi field that Shell wants to quit.
Iraq’s ministry of oil is waiting for Shell to officially quit the large field in the south of the country before starting talks with other oil firms for Majnoon’s development, according to Reuters’ sources.
After months of negotiations, Shell was said earlier this month to have agreed to hand over its stake in Majnoon to state-held Basra Oil Company by the end of the first half next year.
At the Majnoon oil field near Basra, Shell is currently the operator and holder of a 45 percent stake, with Malaysia’s Petronas owning 30 percent, and Iraq’s Missan Oil Company holding the remaining 25 percent. The oilfield started production in 2014 and now produces an average of 210,000 bpd, according to Shell’s website.
Related: U.S. Energy To See Huge Investments From China
A month after news broke that Shell wanted to exit Majnoon, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi said that Chevron and Total SA were interested in working at the oil field that Shell wants to exit, but no talks with the U.S. or French company had taken place since Iraq was still in talks with Shell.
Then last week, BP and Eni joined the list of supermajors potentially interested in replacing Shell at the Majnoon oil field. One oil official close to the matter told Reuters that BP and Eni had approached the oil ministry in October to express interest in developing Majnoon after Shell quits it. BP—in partnership with PetroChina and the South Oil Company—is already developing the nearby Rumaila oil field, which pumps more than 1.45 million bpd. Eni, for its part, operates the Zubair oil field, which is sandwiched in between Majnoon and Rumaila. Zubair currently produces 430,000 bpd.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.