The field was named Majnoon (which means crazy in Arabic) due to an excessive presence of oil in a limited area on the east of the Tigris River in Basra Governorate.
Majnoon spans 52 km-long and 15 km-wide and comprises 13 oil and gas reservoirs of the Cretaceous age.
The onshore oil field is estimated to contain up to 38 billion barrels of oil resources including an estimated recoverable reserves of more than 12 billion barrels.
Although discovered and undertaken for development in the 1970s, the oil field project suffered long delays due to the Iraq-Iran conflict.
Shell and Petronas, were offered to redevelop the field to raise its production up from 45 000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) to a plateau production level of 1.8 million barrels a day (Mbopd), under a contract awarded in 2010.
It is the 1st oilfield in Iraq to be offered to an international company for development.
After restarting production in 2013 and operating barely for 4 years, Shell and Petronas, however, decided to exit the Majnoon concession, in anticipation of a steep decline in profitability following a decline in oil prices.
The control and operatorship to the field was transferred to state-run Basra Oil Company in June 2018, which is carrying out an expansion to increase the field’s production from 240 000 bopd to 450 000 bopd by the end of 2022.
The development of the massive field is expected to continue further towards reaching its potential production levels, as Iraq is forecast to raise its oil output by 30% to 6 Mbopd by 2030, to become one of the biggest providers of new oil supplies in the world over the next decade.