Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) plans to recommend keeping the emirate's 73-year-old onshore concession structure intact, says its top executive.
Adnoc aims to submit the proposal by early next year to the Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC), the group that includes members of the ruling family and makes the final call on the strategic development of the emirate's resources.
"It is our recommendation to have the same format," Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi, the director general of Adnoc, said at an oil conference in the capital. "But this will be submitted to the SPC and they can decide if they want to change."
The 1.4 million barrel-per-day concession is today operated by a joint venture dating to 1939 that includes ExxonMobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Portugal's Partex.
Some major international oil companies want the structure of the concessions to change, however.
Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive of Total, welcomed Mr Al Suwaidi's decision but added: "We consider the existing terms are not reflecting any more what we need to develop fields of this complexity and of this size."
Other operators believe the concession could be split among individual companies so they can deploy proprietary technology without fear of exposing it to competitors.
"Are they offering terms that the industry can see is competitive on a global scale?" said Morten Mauritzen, the country head of ExxonMobil.
"Because the industry has so many opportunities around the world, and to make sure that Abu Dhabi is able to attract the best people, the best technology from around the industry, they need to have terms that support that."
One idea majors are considering with the emirate's decision-makers is to group oil and gas concessions together, so that one field with oil and gas assets would fall completely under one operator.
"If you have a suite of technologies that are applicable both to oil and gas, that is an extra value offer that we can make," said Matthias Bichsel, the executive director of project and technology for Royal Dutch Shell.
But executives were careful to remain open to possibilities.
"There are so many ways to structure this and yes, one of the things we have talked to Adnoc about is the potential additional benefit of integrating the oil and gas," said Mr Mauritzen.
"I think that we can see that there would be a value add of doing that. But there are other options too.
"We are prepared to look at and address whatever structure, whatever Adnoc, SPC wants to do."