Oil and Gas

ADNOC says "door is still open" for UAE oil concession talks

DUBAI, April 4 (Reuters) - The chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) said in remarks published on Monday the door was still open for talks on awarding stakes in its 40-year onshore concession to develop the country’s biggest oilfields.

Nine Asian and Western companies have bid for stakes in the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) concession after a deal with Western majors dating back to the 1970s expired in January 2014.

South Korea’s GS Energy, Japan’s Inpex Corp and France’s Total have won contracts so far to develop the oilfields, which produce 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) and have a target of 1.8 million from 2017.

After the former concession expired, state-run ADNOC took 100 percent of ADCO as political leaders in Abu Dhabi weighed up whether to bring in Asian firms or stick with old partners, industry and diplomatic sources said.

ADNOC holds 60 percent of ADCO, with Total, Inpex and GS Energy holding 10, five and three percent respectively, leaving 22 percent remaining for other bidders

In an interview published by The National and al-Ittihad dailies and state news agency WAM, Sultan al-Jaber said he was pleased with the speed of integration of existing foreign partners into the ADCO concession.

“Having said that, the door is still open to discuss the participation of other international players in the remaining 22 percent share in ADCO,” he was quoted as adding.

“In the spirit of partnership we are enthusiastic to work with the industry and to mutually benefit from what is a very attractive, long-term and sustainable opportunity in the upstream oil and gas sector.”

ExxonMobil, Shell, Total and BP had each held 9.5 percent equity stakes in the former ADCO concession.

Shell, Total and BP made new bids, while Exxon decided against bidding. Other bidders included U.S. firm Occidental Petroleum Corp, Italy’s ENI, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), Norway’s Statoil, Korea National Oil Corp.

Speaking of ADNOC, Jaber said: “We have longstanding relationships with a number of IOCs (international oil companies). These relationships are true partnerships based on mutual trust that go back to the birth of our company and have been part of ADNOC’s successful growth.

“We are keen to work with all those who appreciate the value of long-term collaboration aimed at delivering benefits for both partners.”

Reporting by William Maclean; Editing by Richard Pullin