A joint venture by Shell and Malaysian firm Petronas has been awarded the contract to develop Iraq’s giant Majnoon oilfield.
With 12.6 billion barrels of reserves, Majnoon, in relatively stable southern Iraq, is one of the biggest untapped oilfields left on earth.
China’s CNPC won a deal to develop the nearby Halfaya oilfield, as Iraq staged its second auction of oil contracts since the 2003 US invasion.
Royal Dutch Shell, a multi-national oil company with origins in the UK and the Netherlands – along with Petronas – beat a competing offer from French energy giant Total and the Chinese.
Baghdad desperately needs the billions of dollars in revenue these and other deals will generate after decades of war, international sanctions and years of neglect and sabotage.A series of car bombs killed 112 people in the capital earlier this week, a bloody reminder of the threat face by oil companies as they seek to deploy staff to the remote oilfield areas. The deals have the potential to make Iraqi oil output rival that of top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, shifting the geo-political balance of power in the Middle East.