* ADCO fields producing 1.6 mln bpd, aim to produce 1.8 mln
in 2 years -minister
* Abu Dhabi mulling bringing in big Asian buyers into ADCO
* Ruwais refinery expansion to be completed by end-2014
By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI, Jan 13 Abu Dhabi has received strong
interest from international firms for participating in its
largest oilfields, the UAE oil minister said, as it weighs
continuing previous partnerships with Western oil giants or
letting big Asian buyers take stakes.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) took full control of
the biggest oilfields in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when its
decades-old venture with four of the world's largest oil
companies ended on January 11.
Under the concession arrangement, ADNOC held a 60 percent
controlling stake in the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil
Operations (ADCO) oilfields, while ExxonMobil, Royal
Dutch Shell, Total and BP, each held
9.5 percent stakes.
Several companies, including those whose participation in
the concession have expired are interested in joining the
project with revised terms, UAE's oil minister Suhail bin
Mohammed al-Mazroui told reporters.
"Most of the existing partners are involved and expressed
keen interest to participate," he said.
"There was a criteria that ADNOC announced. This was based
on technology because the challenges moving forward are
different than the challenges we had when we started," the
minister, who is in New Delhi to attend industry event Petrotech
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE, which is a member of
the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). UAE's
concession system allows oil and gas producers to acquire equity
in hydrocarbon resources. ADCO's output is about 1.6 million
barrels per day (bpd).
The western oil majors have partnered Abu Dhabi since
decades but several Asian energy companies are keen to take
stakes in fields that mostly supply oil to the Asian market.
These would offer a chance for UAE to strengthen political ties
with its biggest oil buyers such as China, Korea and Japan.
The minister, however, said that western companies have
agreed to continue working with ADNOC until new contracts are
"There is an arrangement between us and those companies to
continue until we finalise the contract. Now, ADNOC is
responsible for sale of all of the crude," he said.
The Gulf nation has the capacity to produce 3 million
barrels per day (bpd) and is currently producing 2.8 million
"Our production goes up and down depending on the market
demand. Priority is market should be well supplied of the OPEC
crude and UAE is doing its role in that context," al-Mazroui
ADNOC aims to raise output from its largest onshore
oilfields to 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in two years as
the country aims for a 3.5 million bpd export capacity by 2017,
ADNOC has a term contract to supply 230,000 bpd to Indian
refiners but actual purchases go up to as high as 280,000 bpd as
these companies also purchase from the spot market.
"As some members of OPEC like Libya and Iraq are
experiencing difficulties, so we are producing as much as we can
to ensure that markets are well-supplied," he added.
The minister also said that the expansion of Ruwais refinery
of Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Co (Takreer) will be completed by
end-2014. The expansion was earlier planned to be completed in
the first quarter of 2014.
The minister did not specify the reasons for the delay. The
Ruwais refinery has a capacity of 415,000 bpd and expansion work
is underway to more than double it. The new refinery would
process Abu Dhabi's Murban crude oil grade.