Total to Hold Abu Dhabi Talks on Oil Rights, Bab Sour-Gas Field

Total SA (FP) will hold talks in Abu Dhabi about renewing oil production rights in the United Arab Emirates and developing natural gas fields, the company’s chief executive officer said.

The discussions will focus on concession rights in Abu Dhabi that expire next year and on the Bab sour-gas field, Christophe de Margerie said today in an interview in the U.A.E.’s capital and largest emirate. Total doesn’t expect to sign any agreements during his visit today to the Persian Gulf crude producer, he said.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), BP Plc (BP/), and Partex Oil & Gas are shareholders with Paris-based Total in output from Abu Dhabi’s main onshore oil fields. Abu Dhabi, which holds most the U.A.E.’s oil, is due to shortlist companies to share in fields producing 1.4 million barrels a day. The U.A.E. is the sixth-biggest crude producer in OPEC, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“It’s an on-going process,” he said. “We’re talking about the new concession, talking about our work with ABK and talking about some additional gas.” ABK is an offshore field where the company also has rights.

Total is looking into a project to produce sour, or high- sulfur, gas at the onshore Bab field in Abu Dhabi, de Margerie said. Gas from Bab will initially supply local demand, and Total may seek other supplies of the fuel to transport for export from the U.A.E. port of Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman, he said.

The company would also be interested in supplying an import terminal for liquefied natural gas that Abu Dhabi plans to build at Fujairah, which lies outside the Strait of Hormuz, a shipping chokepoint between Iran and Oman at the mouth of the Gulf.

Saudi Refinery

In neighboring Saudi Arabia, Total has agreed in principle with state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco, to expand the Satorp refinery in Jubail, de Margerie said. The expanded refinery, including a new petrochemical facility, will be called Satorp II, he said. The upgraded complex will supply the Saudi domestic market and may also export, the CEO said, without estimating the expanded plant’s production. Satorp currently processes 400,000 barrels a day of crude.

Total plans to start exploring again for oil and gas in Libya, where crude production has “almost” recovered to levels maintained before the revolt in 2011 against the North African state’s former leader Muammar Qaddafi, de Margerie said. “Definitely we need to restart exploration in Libya,” he said.

The company is also happy to continue working both in southern Iraq and in that nation’s northern self-ruled Kurdish region, he said.

“I’m perfectly well in the KRG and in Iraq,” he said, referring to the Kurdistan Regional Government by its initials. “It’s one country.”

Iraq’s central government requested that Total cancel contracts the company signed with the Kurdistan Regional Government and which the Oil Ministry in Baghdad considers to be illegal. The central government and KRG are entangled in a dispute over energy contracts, oil revenue and territory.

The Iraqi government and KRG need to agree on a common energy law, de Margerie said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Anthony DiPaola in Abu Dhabi at adipaola@bloomberg.net; Wael Mahdi in Abu Dhabi at wmahdi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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