Shell has received regulatory approval for the sale of its 19.6% stake in the ExxonMobil-operated 450,000 b/d West Qurna-1 to Japan’s Itochu. Shell confirmed on 23 March that it has sold the stake for $406mn with an effective date of 31 December 2015. Itochu will assume $144mn debt under the deal, which is set to complete in the next few days.

The announcement came shortly after Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi met with Shell’s Iraq chief Marcus Antonini on 19 March. Shell...