By Dalya Ahmad
Azzaman, January 1, 2015
Scores of Iraqis have been demonstrating in villages and towns close to a gigantic oil field which Royal Dutch Shell operates in conjunction with with Petronas and Iraq’s Missan Oil Company Southern Oil Company.
The Iraqis are asking the oil giant, which holds 45% stake in the 20-year contract to develop the Majnoon field, to create more jobs for the local population.
Shell is the consortium’s leader develop Majnoun, which is one the largest fields in the world, with an estimated 38 billion barrels of oil in recoverable reserves.
Most of the demonstrators come from the town of Quran and other sub-districts and villages in the vicinity of Majnoun.
About 150 demonstrators had flocked to the gates of the field, shouting slogans and raising banners to express their demand for Shell to have them employed.
The administrative official in charge of the village of al-Nashwa, Mohammed Majeed, said demonstrations demanding the creation of new jobs by Shell would continue.
Majeed admitted that Shell had already “employed many people” from the nearby villages and towns but he requested that more jobs be created.
“Shell, which is developing the field has already employed many people,” Majeed said. “But more people should be employed and priority in employment in the field must be given to the people inhabiting the rural areas close to the field.”
Majeed reiterated “the peaceful character” of the demonstration and of any other similar activities that will take place in the future.
Shell and partners started signed the contract to develop the field in earnest in 2010 and currently it produces more than 200,000 barrels of oil a day.
The consortium’s production target is estimated at 1.8 million barrels per day once all development-related operations are in place.