The Iraq Oil Ministry’s technical service contracts (TSC) claimed a fresh casualty last week as Shell relinquished its 45% operating stake in the 220,000 b/d Majnoon field. Shell called the mutually-agreed exit amicable and says it remains committed to the Basra Gas Company. But the move highlights the imperative for contract reforms. Shell’s move for the exit is a blow to Iraq’s already downgraded aim of reaching 6mn b/d capacity by 2020 from 4.65mn b/d now.

Reports that Shell planned to exit emerged in November 2016 (MEES, 2 December 2016) after its Iraq chief Marcus Antonini acknowledged that 200,000 b/d output was an “embarrassment.” Looking to remedy the situation, Shell told MEES it had mobilized three rigs in a bid to double output to 420,000 b/d (MEES, 26 May). (CONTINUED - 883 WORDS)