MANAMA // Mubadala Development, the strategic investment group owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, launched a joint venture with Occidental Petroleum and Bahrain's National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) yesterday. The venture extends Mubadala's reach into petroleum concessions across the Middle East and Asia.
Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the crown prince of Bahrain and chairman of the country's Economic Development Board, inaugurated the venture, Tatweer Petroleum, at a ceremony at Jebel Dukhan in Awali, Bahrain, the site of the Gulf's first oil well, drilled in 1932. The venture aims to raise oil production at the Bahrain field, also known as the Awali Field, to 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) over the next seven years.
Khaldoon al Mubarak, the chief executive of Mubadala, cited sentimental as well as commercial reasons for the project. "This site in which we gather was where oil was first discovered in the Arab Gulf," he said. "Not only should our culture and heritage be preserved, but also the fields that have brought wealth to this region and helped develop and shape our lives." Mubadala holds a 32 per cent stake in the venture, while Occidental has 48 per cent. NOGA holds the remaining 20 per cent.
Mubadala's oil and gas division is focusing on prospects in the eastern hemisphere to triple its production to 1 million bpd within six years. Its first major foreign venture was the Dolphin gas project in Qatar, which provides the bulk of the company's revenues. With partners Occidental Petroleum and Total of France, it produces 2 billion cubic feet per day of gas from Qatar, exported by pipeline to the UAE and Oman.
Mr al Mubarak said he hoped Tatweer Petroleum would mirror the success of Dolphin. Mubadala and Occidental are also partners in Oman, where they have recently increased production to 90,000 bpd from 80,000 bpd and are aiming to boost output to 150,000 bpd within five years. Tatweer Petroleum has appointed Ray Irani, the head of Occidental, as its chairman and chief executive. "Oxy has been an active investor in the Middle East and North Africa for four decades, and even more so in the last 10 years," Mr Irani said.
"During our years of operating in the Middle East, we have developed expertise in extracting oil and gas from fields with similar characteristics to the Awali Field. We are excited to have the opportunity to participate with Tatweer Petroleum in revitalising this important oil and gas asset." In other foreign ventures, Mubadala has teamed up with ConocoPhillips to seek oil and gas below the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan, while an affiliate company is part of a five-company consortium that has won US$9.71 billion (Dh35.66bn) of contracts to develop Turkmenistan's biggest gasfield.