Out-Law News 1 min. read

Abu Dhabi oil fields will continue to operate under state control as international agreement ends

Abu Dhabi's largest oil fields will come back under state control when a 75 year old concession agreement with a number of international energy companies comes to an end this month.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) will continue to run the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) until new operators can be found, according to the state-run WAM press agency. The original concession agreement between the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and energy companies BP, Shell, Total, Exxon Mobil and Portugal's Partex Oil & Gas was signed on 11 January 1939.

The companies said that the partnership had been one of their worldwide "success stories" and "expressed their continuous intent for further cooperation and partnerships" in UAE oil and gas, WAM said.

ADCO is currently responsible for more than half of the UAE's total oil production, pumping about 1.5 million barrels a day, according to Reuters. The six oil fields it is responsible for have been producing oil for over 50 years. The country as a whole is currently targeting an increase in production capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day by 2020.

The consortium partners, excluding Partec, have all been invited to bid for a share of a new agreement, Reuters said. Companies from the US, China, Japan, Korea, Norway and Russia have also been invited to bid.

ADNOC Director-General Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi said that the "cooperation and partnership" of the international companies had made a major role in developing onshore oil fields in the UAE. The partnership had also led to the use of "best practices and latest technologies for maximum utilisation and eco-friendly exploitation of natural resources", he said.

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