Total awarded 10 % stake in Abu Dhabi's biggest onshore oil field for 40 years

Posted on 30th January 2015

Total SA won bidding to develop the biggest onshore oil deposits in the United Arab Emirates, making the French energy company the first to be chosen by Abu Dhabi to pump more crude amid a global supply glut.

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Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. awarded Total a 10 per cent stake in the main land-based concession in the UAE’s largest sheikdom, for 40 years starting Jan. 1, 2015, according to an e-mailed statement from the Paris-based company. Other companies were also asked to bid.

Middle Eastern energy suppliers including the U.A.E. are expanding their capacity to produce crude oil for export as well as to boost output of natural gas, which they burn as fuel in local power plants. The UAE, an OPEC member, holds about six per cent of global oil reserves. Most of it lies in Abu Dhabi, which plans to raise capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day in 2017 from about three million barrels a day now. The emirate sells most of its crude to buyers in Japan, South Korea and India.

Abu Dhabi is one of the few places in the Persian Gulf region where the largest U.S. and European producers still hold direct stakes in oil fields. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, fellow members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, don’t allow foreigners to invest in crude production.

Adnoc, as the government-owned producer is known, has been seeking for more than a year to line up new foreign partners to develop the emirate’s onshore deposits. Its previous joint venture with Total, BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Portugal’s Partex Oil & Gas expired in January 2014. Adnoc invited 11 companies to bid for the new concessions and all of them made offers, it said in November 2013 as the renewal process began.

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