By Jite Eriabie
Iraq on Thursday took the first step towards taking over the giant Majnoon oilfield following the pullout of Anglo-Dutch giant Shell, Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said.
Luaibi said a committee was formed to “start taking over all responsibilities and documents from Shell which decided to withdraw from the field” in southern Iraq.
The committee has until March 30, 2018 to take full control of Majnoon, his ministry said in a statement, adding that “Shell employees will be present until June to complete certain procedures”.
It said the target was to achieve production of more than 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) “in the years to come” while reducing costs by over 30 percent.
In 2009, Iraq chose Shell to develop the field, whose reserves are estimated at 12.58 billion barrels.
The company had set a goal of producing 1.8 million bpd, but this figure was exaggerated and all contracts were later revised downwards.
In 2013, the oil ministry accused the Anglo-Dutch company of responsibility for $4.6 billion in lost revenues due to production delays.
Shortly afterwards, Shell expressed its desire to end the contract after the oilfield became less profitable.
The French company Total has said it was interested in taking over the Majnoon oil field.