Shell has suspended operations at its Soroosh Field located in the northern Persian Gulf offshore Iran due to U.S. Military action against Saddam Hussein. The field produces 60,000 barrels per day. In 1999 Shell signed an $800 million buy-back deal with Iran develop the Soroosh and Nowrooz fields. The Soroosh field came onstream at 60,000 bpd in early December 2001 and the Nowrooz oilfield is scheduled to start producing by the third quarter of 2003. The company will try to compensate for the lost production once the conflict is over. Shell said that the safety of its employees and contractors is its primary objective. Shell has withdrawn a total of 260 foreign and Iranian staff from the area.