Oil 2014: Abu Dhabi has a history of upholding the rights of foreign shareholders, said the chief executive of Adco.
Adco looks forward to partnership with foreign shareholders
Abu Dhabi's new partners in its onshore oilfields can have faith the emirate will uphold the partnership, said the chief executive of the company that operates the concession.
"We are not in a rush," said Abdul Munim Al Kindy, the chief executive of the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco).
"We look forward in 2014 and 2015 to establishing a new relationship after 75 years. There was turmoil, political changes and collapse of oil prices, and yet the government respected its partnership. With that heritage we look forward for the future."
The foreign shareholders in Adco - BP, Total, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Portugal's Partex - have held production rights in the emirate since the Second World War. The expiration of that historic contract in 2014 has Abu Dhabi evaluating old partners and new entrants such as Statoil, China National Oil Corporation and Occidental.
For the bidders, the fields are particularly attractive for being in a politically stable area and for being one of the few places in the Arabian Gulf where foreign companies can book reserves. While other oil producers such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia nationalised their oil industries wholesale, Abu Dhabi has increased its share without kicking out its western partners.
An Emirate-wide target to ramp up production from 2.8 million to 3.5 million barrels per day by 2017 will be challenging given the smaller scale of the fields yet to be developed, said Mr Al Kindy.
"We have a lot of small reservoirs. So for a very incremental increase the effort required to produce it is much higher."
The expansion is bringing more workers to the Western Region, where the fields are located, and with them new business prospects, he added.
"The great investment opportunities are in logistics support, in supporting and expanding this industry," he said. "Today they have to come to Abu Dhabi. Imagine if they just had to go there next door. Shopping malls, medical services, the sky is the limit."