Qatar's state-owned oil company says it is soliciting bids from international energy companies for the chance to operate the small Gulf nation's largest oil field.

Qatar Petroleum said Wednesday it is inviting bids to operate and further develop the al-Shaheen field starting in the middle of 2017, when an existing 25-year deal with Denmark's Maersk Oil expires.

Maersk Oil is one of the companies that has been invited to compete for the project.

Al-Shaheen sits 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the coast of the OPEC nation and produces about 300,000 barrels of oil per day.