x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Big Oil wants long-lasting relationship with Abu Dhabi

Executives of international oil companies expect to continue their relationships with Abu Dhabi beyond the expiry in the next few years of the emirate's biggest oil concessions.

Executives of international oil companies expect to continue their relationships with Abu Dhabi beyond the expiry in the next few years of the emirate's biggest oil concessions.

"We are certainly confident that the landscape for the relationship stretches beyond the end of the concession," said Jean Luc Guiziou, the regional vice president of the French energy group Total's exploration and production unit, on the sidelines of an oil executives' summit in Abu Dhabi.

Mr Guiziou echoed other executives at the conference who spoke on condition that they would not be identified.

"We are confident that the track record of the relationship between Total and Abu Dhabi will continue with a renewed partnership after 2014," he said. "We are confident we will be one of the strategic partners."

Total is among several foreign oil companies participating in a joint venture with ADNOC that extracts crude from Abu Dhabi's onshore oilfields. The concession, signed in the 1930s, is due to expire in 2014. A similar offshore concession expires four years later.

Total's other partners in the onshore venture are Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, BP and Partex.

Mr Guiziou said Total was also interested in new oil and gas projects in Abu Dhabi, including the development of the emirate's deeply buried deposits of ultra-sour gas - a challenging enterprise the Government is intent on pursuing to boost gas supplies for use in power generation, petrochemicals and enhanced oil recovery projects.

But Total is unlikely to seek a role in the Shah gas project, from which ADNOC's previous joint venture partner, the US oil company ConocoPhillips, withdrew in August last year.

Since then, ADNOC has been seeking a new partner for the development, which would involve producing 1 billion cubic feet per day of gas from a reservoir containing an extremely high concentration of toxic hydrogen sulphide.

Shell, ExxonMobil and Total were considered front runners to replace ConocoPhillips.

Mounir Bouaziz, a vice president of Shell Upstream International, said the company had developed proprietary technology for sour gas extraction, which it was willing to make available to national oil companies including ADNOC.

In 2007, the Abu Dhabi Government passed over Shell's bid for the project in favour of the proposal submitted by ConocoPhillips, a company with less sour gas experience than Shell.

ConocoPhillips withdrew from Shah and a refinery project in Saudi Arabia after its earnings plunged during the downturn and it cut several thousand staff.

 

tcarlisle@thenational.ae