The French company Total will not adjust its bid to develop Abu Dhabi's Bab sour gasfield unless asked by the emirate, said the company's chief executive.
Abu Dhabi is due to select a foreign partner within weeks and competitor Royal Dutch Shell is "in good standing", Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi, the director general of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), said in Abu Dhabi on Monday..
Shell and Total were the only companies asked by Adnoc to prepare formal bids to develop the sulphur-laced gas at Bab, one of the emirate's oldest fields.
"I am transparent," Christophe de Margerie, Total's chief executive, said in Paris. "A bidding process is a bidding process. Until you are asked to make a rebid, you don't do it."
The Supreme Petroleum Council, which includes members of the ruling family and trusted advisers, will make the decision on Bab. For two previous sour gas tenders it has gone against Adnoc's recommendation.
Total has been the most vocal company seeking to develop the Bab field during the many years that Abu Dhabi has tendered it.
Bab was originally included in a tender to develop the Shah sour gasfield, which has similar technical challenges, but Adnoc split the tender to make the projects more attractive to bidders.
Bab is expected to yield between 500 and 800 cubic feet per day, with 50 per cent of that carbon dioxide and 15 per cent of it hydrogen sulphide, which can be deadly in high quantities. With Bab located at the nexus of core infrastructure and population at Habshan, the project is highly complex.
"You know in life you cannot always win," Mr de Margerie said. "What's important is to compete and to compete in offering the best of what you have. That's a promise I've made to the highest authorities in the emirates and in Abu Dhabi, they know it.
"And they know that when we make an offer, it's a real one. Now afterwards we might have a different perception on cost, and if that's the case, I mean good for them, good for Abu Dhabi."