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Shell has handed over the operations of the Majnoon oilfield in Iraq to Iraqi state-run Basra Oil Company, exiting the field as it said last year it would do, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing two Iraqi oil officials close to the deal.
Last year, Shell said that it would sell its interest in the Majnoon oilfield after the oil major and Iraq failed to agree on future production plans and investment budgets. After months of negotiations, Shell agreed at the end of 2017 to exit the venture and hand over its operation to Basra Oil Company (BOC) by the end of June 2018. Shell was the operator and holder of 45 percent at Majnoon, with Malaysia’s Petronas owning 30 percent, and Iraq’s Missan Oil Company holding the remaining 25 percent.
At the end of December, Iraq said that it had formed a management team to take over operations from Shell after the oil major exits the field by the end of June. Iraq wants to raise production at Majnoon from the current 235,000 bpd to around 400,000 bpd in the “coming years”.
Today, officials from Shell and Basra Oil Company met to mark the handing over of the operations of the field.
“The handing over process was smooth and without any issues,” one Iraqi oil official told Reuters after the meeting.
In April, Anton Oilfield Services and Petrofac signed a two-year deal with Iraq’s oil ministry to operate the Majnoon field on behalf of Basra Oil Company.
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“Shell’s exit will not have any effect on production operations and we can increase output without any hurdles,” another Iraqi official told Reuters, commenting on the handover.
Shell, for its part, is focusing on its gas operations and joint ventures in Iraq, and sold in March its 19.6-percent stake in the West Qurna 1 oil field to a subsidiary of Japan’s Itochu Corporation for US$406 million.
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.