BP Sends in Big Guns as Majors Jostle for Abu Dhabi Oil Riches

  • Attendance numbers for conference may shed light on strategy
  • Adnoc in talks for offshore concession that expires in March

Bob Dudley.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

When BP Plc goes to Abu Dhabi this week, where big oil companies will be jostling for access to the Emirate’s offshore riches, the British behemoth won’t be leaving anything up to chance.

An all-star cast is slated to attend the annual Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference, including BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley and Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary. The company is sending more speakers than any of the other majors -- almost twice as many as its nearest rival Total SA and seven times as many as Exxon Mobil Corp., according to the conference website.

BP’s attendance underscores the importance of the state, which is already the fifth-biggest contributor to the company’s global crude oil output and has been in “advanced discussions with potential partners” for an additional offshore oil concession. In December, BP cemented a seven-decade relationship by swapping about $2.2 billion of its own shares for a stake in one of the emirate’s largest onshore oil concessions.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. “is one of our very close, key strategic partners,” Gilvary said in a phone interview Oct. 31. “So you should assume that as one of our close strategic partners that we discuss many things with them.”

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