Save for later Print Download Share LinkedIn Twitter Total is set to take over operatorship of Qatar's 300,000 b/d Al-Shaheen offshore oil field together with state Qatar Petroleum (QP) on Jul. 14 under a 25-year contract agreed last year. The French major fought off competition from other bidders including incumbent operator Denmark's Maersk Oil, which operated and developed the field for 24 years (IOD Jun.28'16). Whereas Maersk was 100% operator under its production sharing agreement, Total agreed to a joint venture partnership named North Oil Co. in which it secured a 30% stake. Total said Tuesday that transition activities had been conducted successfully "thanks to the strong commitment of all parties and the deployment of the best expertise by both Total and [QP]." The first phase of the Al-Shaheen development envisages drilling 56 new wells with two rigs, starting this summer. A third rig will be deployed early next year. That will be followed by two further field development phases over the next five years. Located in Qatari waters 80 km north of Ras Laffan, the giant Al-Shaheen came on stream in 1994 and now consists of 30 platforms and 300 wells. Total Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanne underlined Total's commitment to the development of its partnership with QP both in Qatar and internationally, and its willingness "to further expand cooperation in particular with new projects in Qatar." The announcement comes against the backdrop of an ongoing political crisis that has seen a coalition of four Arab states led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates isolate Doha diplomatically and economically. They accuse Qatar of financing extremist and terrorist groups, and maintaining friendly relations with Iran. Qatar shares the giant North Field with its larger neighbor, where the gas field is known as South Pars. Last week, Total signed the first post-sanctions upstream deal in Iran, which will see it develop Phase 11 of South Pars (IOD Jul.4'17).