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BP Says Still in Talks with Abu Dhabi on Oil-Production Rights

July 8 (Bloomberg) -- BP Plc said it’s still in talks with Abu Dhabi about renewing rights to produce oil in the Middle Eastern emirate, after a report indicated the London-based crude producer had been excluded from negotiations.

“Constructive discussions are taking place at all levels,” David Nicholas, a BP spokesman, said July 6. “This is all part of doing business.” An official at Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., the state-run producer known as Adnoc, had no comment on the report when contacted by Bloomberg today, asking not to be identified in line with company policy.

Adnoc excluded BP from the list of companies it asked to bid for production rights at onshore fields, Petroleum Intelligence Weekly reported last week, without identifying where it got the information. Exxon Mobil Corp., Total SA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Statoil ASA and Occidental Petroleum Corp. received invitations to prequalify for bidding, PIW said in a newsletter dated July 9.

Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, holds most of the nation’s oil, and Adnoc pumps crude and natural gas from onshore and undersea deposits in joint ventures with international partners. One of the ventures, Abu Dhabi Co. for Onshore Oil Operations, known also as Adco, manages the main concession for the sheikhdom’s largest onshore fields. The agreement will expire in 2014, and Adnoc is in discussions to renew it or reach separate accords with new partners.

Adnoc Director General Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi said in April that the producer was shortlisting the companies it would ask for bids to help pump and expand on Adco’s 1.4 million barrel-a-day of output.

BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and Partex Oil & Gas -- or their predecessor companies -- have been producing oil in Abu Dhabi since 1939. Adnoc joined them as a partner in the 1970s, creating the Adco concession, which holds rights for six deposits until 2014.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anthony DiPaola in Dubai at adipaola@bloomberg.net; Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net.

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

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