The UK/Dutch Shell is to hand over its stake in Iraq’s Majnoon field to state-owned Basra Oil Company by the end of June 2018, according to a report by news agency Reuters.

“We agreed that eight months is quite enough time for Shell to finish preparations to exit Majnoon. Basra Oil Company will take over operations,” an unnamed Iraqi official was quoted as saying by the news agency.

Reports emerged in September that Shell, which has a 45 per cent stake in the giant southern field in Basra was looking to sell its stake, according to an official letter signed by Iraqi oil minister Jabbar al-Luaibi.

In the letter, the oil minister said, “We respect your desire and decision to seek an acceptable end of Shell Iraq Petroleum Development’s (SIPD) interest in Majnoon.”

The other stakeholders of the field are Malaysia’s Petronas, which has a 30 per cent stake as well as Iraq’s state-owned Missan Oil Company.

The super-giant Majnoon is estimated to hold reserves of up to 38 billion barrels of oil and maintains an output of 210,000 barrels a day since production started in 2014.

According to the Reuters report, Iraqi workers hired by Shell would continue to provide their services on the field even after the operatorship changes hands.