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Zainab Calcuttawala

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Oil Supermajors Bid To Operate Qatar’s Largest Oilfield

Oil Rig

British Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell and four other international firms have submitted their bids to run and expand Qatar’s largest offshore oil field, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The field’s current operator, Maersk Qatar, as well as Total SA, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, are also in the running for the contract, sources close to the matter told the news agency on condition of anonymity.

The state-owned firm Qatar Petroleum will announce the winner of the bid in the second half of 2016.

The Al Shaheen field lies 50 miles off the coast of the Gulf country and produces an estimated 300,000 barrels per day.

France-based Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanne confirmed the company’s bid on the tender earlier this year, according to an official spokesperson.

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Maersk Oil Qatar, which is a subsidiary of Denmark’s A.P Moller-Maersk, said earlier this month that though it is involved in the tender process, it could possibly lose its right to run its largest oil-producing field.

The company had expected that Qatar would renew its 25-year production agreement, but the government announced the tender last year as a surprise to the firm’s leadership.

Maersk contract with the Qatari government ends in 2017.

Reuters contacted the other companies competing in the tender for comment. Some declined to issue a statement, while others did not respond.

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A source in Qatar’s oil sector said the government issued the tender because it aspired to increase the field’s output to 500,000 barrels per day.

Al Shaheen should have reached a production rate of 525,000 barrels per day by 2010, according to a 2005 agreement between Maersk and the government, but the field’s capacity has stagnated at 300,000 bpd or roughly one half of Qatar’s national oil output.

Qatar has also become the largest producer of liquefied natural gas in the past three decades. The country’s oil minister currently serves as the president of OPEC.

By: Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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