Abu Dhabi Is in Talks With Potential Partners for Offshore Oil Areas

  • Adnoc in advanced discussions with more than a dozen companies
  • State-run producer seeks to boost oil-output capacity in 2018

A motor boat heads along the coastline towards the Dubai Marina district seen from the Palm Monorail public tram in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday, May 8, 2016. Dubai's housing market, the biggest and most volatile in the Middle East, is in the doldrums as falling oil prices, a weaker euro and ruble and an abundance of properties damp demand.

Photographer: Razan Alzayani/Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. is in advanced talks with more than a dozen potential partners to develop an offshore oil concession in the emirate pumping most of the crude of OPEC’s United Arab Emirates.

The potential partners, a mix of existing concession-holders in Adnoc’s offshore fields and new participants, have expressed a significant interest in the area currently operated by the Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Co., known as ADMA-OPCO, according to a company statement. The existing ADMA-OPCO concession, expiring in March, will be split into two or more areas, it said.

“As Adnoc looks to boost oil-production capacity to 3.5 million barrels per day in 2018, offshore development is a strategic focus of the company,” according to the statement. “The existing concession area operated by ADMA-OPCO, which produces around 700,000 barrels a day of oil, is planned to have a production capacity of about 1 million barrels per day by 2021.”

State-run Adnoc pumps most of the crude in the U.A.E., an OPEC member with about 6 percent of global reserves. The U.A.E. has agreed with global producers to cut output through next March to curb an oversupply weighing on oil prices. Adnoc, which has been reining in spending, announced plans in October to combine offshore energy businesses ADMA-OPCO and Zakum Development Co. It said last month that it may sell minority stakes in some units and will seek more international partners.

“We have received great interest in the concessions from both existing and potential new partners,” Sultan Al Jaber, U.A.E. Minister of State and Adnoc CEO, said in the statement. “Discussions are progressing well.”

The concessions will include a mix of the Lower Zakum, Umm Shaif, Nasr, Umm Lulu and Satah Al Razboot fields, according to the statement. Adnoc will retain a 60 percent stake in the new areas, it said.

International shareholders in ADMA-OPCO are BP Plc, with 14.67 percent, Total SA, with 13.33 percent, and Japan Oil Development Co., with 12 percent, according to the statement. International investors in Zakum Development Co., known as Zadco, are Exxon Mobil Corp., with 28 percent, and Jodco, with 12 percent, it said.

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