(Adds comment from Maersk Oil, background)
DUBAI/COPENHAGEN, May 6 (Reuters) - Qatar Petroleum has invited international oil companies to compete to operate and develop its Al-Shaheen oilfield from mid-2017, a blow to current operator Maersk Oil which had hoped to extend its production sharing agreement.
QP said on Wednesday that Maersk Oil, the oil and gas unit of giant conglomerate A.P. Moller - Maersk, was invited to bid after their 25-year agreement expires in 2017.
But the invitation to other companies signals that negotiations behind closed doors about renewing the current contract have not succeeded.
“We have known that we would be challenged on terms and conditions in connection with the 2017 extension and have been awaiting more information on how Qatar Petroleum wished to go about such a process,” Maersk Oil Chief Executive Jakob Thomasen said in a statement.
“We look forward to this opportunity to continue our partnership with Qatar Petroleum, based on our long-term commitment and detailed technical knowledge.”
The oilfield, 80 kilometres (50 miles) off Qatar’s coast, currently produces around 300,000 barrels per day, Qatar Petroleum said. It did not specify a deadline for submitting bids or say when the contract would be awarded.
Maersk views its oil unit as one of four key businesses alongside Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company. Maersk Oil has a target of producing 400,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2020 from around 250,000 boed in 2014.
The company declined to comment any further, including whether the targets were in jeopardy. Maersk’s share price fell 1.8 percent from the announcement at about 1230 GMT to 13,250 crowns from 13,500 crowns.
Maersk Chief Executive Nils Andersen said in September the company expected an extension, albeit on different terms. “Whether it will be better or worse we don’t know, but it could easily be a win-win,” he told Danish daily Berlingske. (Reporting by Rania El Gamal in Dubai and Sabina Zawadzki in Copenhagen)