Shell to resume operations at giant Iraq oilfield
Baghdad, March 16, 2013
Royal Dutch Shell will resume operations at Iraq's Majnoon oilfield on May 1, with initial production of 100,000 barrels per day (bpd), Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said on Saturday.
The production re-start at one of Iraq's major fields could help boost the OPEC member's exports towards the 2.9 million bpd average projected in the budget, making up for a cut by the country's autonomous north.
Iraq exported an average 2.538 million bpd in February, Luaibi said, up from 2.359 million the previous month.
"The significant factor which affected exports was the weather... but we hope, these months... we will compensate the lost amounts of the first season," he said.
Majnoon was shut down in June for maintenance and to bring new production facilities online.
"Majnoon is planned to start producing on May 1. The production average will be 100,000 bpd to begin with and speedily rise to 200,000 bpd," Luaibi said.
At their peak, oil exports from Iraq were above 2.6 million bpd, but last December its Kurdistan region stopped shipping crude because of a row with the central government over payments to oil companies operating in the region.
In recent years, the Kurds have signed deals on their own terms with the likes of Exxon Mobil, Chevron Corp and Russia's Gazprom Neft, riling Baghdad, which rejects the contracts as illegal.
Iraq has the world's fourth-largest oil reserves and is targeting exports of 6 million bpd by 2017.-Reuters