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Maersk & QP in Talks to Extend Al-Shaheen Field Contract

Source: Reuters 9/21/2012, Location: Middle East

Denmark's Maersk Oil is in talks with Qatar Petroleum to extend a production-sharing contract for the offshore al-Shaheen oilfield by another 13 years to 2030, industry sources said.

Crude production at the field could rise to 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2017 from the current 300,000 bpd, one source said, with new equipment such as a floating storage and offloading unit (FSO) possibly being installed if the contract is extended.

Maersk Oil spokesman Paul Taylor did not confirm the talks to lengthen the production-sharing contract by another 13 years, but said the two companies were together evaluating the potential for additional development of the field.

"Our focus is on ... delivering a long-term stable production plateau," Taylor said in an e-mail.

The field, which produces a heavy sour grade popular with Asian refiners, has been capable of producing 525,000 bpd since Maersk Oil completed an expansion project in 2010, but its output has been capped at 300,000 bpd to extend its life and meet OPEC quotas, the sources said. A higher output could help meet strong demand growth in Asia as more refineries are built.

Maersk Oil, a unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk, entered into an Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) with Qatar Petroleum for Block 5 including the Al Shaheen discovery off the shore of Qatar in 1992. The companies have extracted around 1.2 billion barrels of oil from the field since then.

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