Maersk to Pump Up Al Shaheen Output

(Dow Jones), Jan. 22, 2010

Maersk Oil, a unit of Denmark's AP Moller Maersk A/S, will complete commissioning of new platforms at Qatar's Al Shaheen oil field within the first quarter this year, which will raise the heavy sour crude's output, a company spokesman said late Thursday.

"Commissioning has been going on since 2008-09 for a number of facilities...only the last platforms that were most recently installed haven't been commissioned yet," Maersk's group press officer Michael Storgaard said in an email.

Maersk, citing confidentiality agreements, declined to say how much new capacity will be added and how its equity share has changed after the expansion.

"Our share varies and is impacted by factors such as the oil price," Storgaard said.

Qatar's oil minister, Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, has said output at the Al Shaheen field could almost double in capacity to over 500,000 barrels a day. Oil production at the field averaged 330,000 barrels a day in 2008, according to Maersk.

In its latest financial report, Maersk said its share of production in the first nine months of 2009 was 67 million barrels, up 30% on year.

The report attributed the rise in the company's share to an increase in its equity stake after it pumped in more money for expansion.

Maersk Oil and Qatar Petroleum agreed in 2005 to further develop the Al Shaheen field offshore Qatar.

The plan included drilling more than 160 new production and water-injection wells during a six-year period from 2006, as well as creating another three offshore platform locations, bringing the total number of platforms to 15.

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