UAE oilfields receives new bids from Asian and western buyers

oilpump-uae-paullowry-flickrAsian and western firms have placed new bids for the UAE’s biggest oilfields after a deal with oil majors expired this year but the Gulf country is yet to decide whether to let Asian oil buyers in for the long haul, government sources said

However, a final decision on the winning firms is unlikely before early 2015 as political leaders in Abu Dhabi are currently weighing whether to bring in Asian firms or stick with old partners, industry and diplomatic sources added.

ExxonMobil will not bid for the country’s oilfields, the sources told Reuters.

ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Total and BP — have each held 9.5 per cent equity stakes in the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) concession since the 1970s. Portugal’s Partex had a two per cent stake, and the rest was held by state run Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

After the deal expired in January this year, ADNOC took over the concession completely. Shell, Total and BP have made their new bids, which are being evaluated by Abu Dhabi.

ExxonMobil, however, reportedly did not bid for the ADCO concession after it renegotiated a better deal for the Upper Zakum offshore oilfield, which it has been operating with ADNOC and Japan’s Inpex since 2006.

ExxonMobil’s exit may improve the chances for the other three former partners and pave the way for newcomers to join in.

 US firm Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Italy’s Eni, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Norway’s Statoil, Japan’s Inpex and Korea National Oil Corporation have bid for the new deal, according to Reuters.

“Abu Dhabi’s new partners are expected to be selected in early 2015. The evaluation process is underway,” one industry source said.

The onshore fields produce 1.6mn bpd, over half UAE’s oil output. The UAE oil minister had said in January that Abu Dhabi has received strong interest from international firms to participate in the ADCO fields with revised terms.

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