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By Ahmed Rasheed
BAGHDAD, Nov 20 (Reuters) - BP and Eni are among companies that have expressed an interest in developing the giant Majnoon oilfield which Royal Dutch Shell plans to leave next year, Iraqi oil officials said on Monday.
Shell has agreed to exit the Majnoon field in southern Iraq and hand over its operation to the state-run Basra Oil Co. by the end of June 2018, according to two Iraqi oil officials.
“BP and Italy’s Eni have approached the oil ministry last month to show interest in developing Majnoon after Shell exits the field,” an oil official close to Majnoon operations said.
BP and Eni were not immediately available to comment.
Two other oil officials confirmed BP and Eni’s interest in Majnoon and said the oil ministry had not yet started talks with either company.
BP is developing Rumaila, Iraq’s biggest oilfield, in the south. The field currently produces around 1.45 million barrels per day (bpd).
Eni operates the 4-billion-barrel Zubair oilfield in the south, which currently produces around 430,000 bpd.
Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on Oct. 9 that Chevron and Total were among the companies that had expressed an interest in developing Majnoon.
Iraq is developing the Majnoon field itself until it can find a foreign partner.
“The oil minister Luaibi will directly supervise the operations in Majnoon after Shell leaves to make sure operations will not be disrupted,” said another Iraqi oil official. (Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Jane Merriman and Mark Potter)