DUBAI: PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) of Thailand and Eni of Italy have secured rights to explore for oil and natural gas in Abu Dhabi, committing to invest at least US$230 million to assess the offshore fields.
The concession will be operated by Eni and fully owned by the Italian and Thai companies. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc) will have the option of retaining 60% of the fields once they reach the production phase.
“We are engaging with partners who actually put skin in the game,” Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of government-owned Adnoc, said at a conference in Abu Dhabi.
Adnoc in April last year announced its first competitive tender for partners to explore for and develop oil and gas, offering four blocks onshore and two offshore. The Eni-PTTEP concession was the first to be awarded from that package.
Eni has made offshore discoveries from the Americas to Africa and the Mediterranean. The Rome-based company has been active in the Persian Gulf to build on its successful discoveries. It won rights to develop crude and gas deposits in Abu Dhabi last year, and it wants to partner in Qatar’s liquefied natural gas projects.
Abu Dhabi holds about 6% of global crude reserves and pumps most of the UAE’s oil. Adnoc, which has worked with international companies for more than four decades, received 39 bids for new exploration projects, Al Jaber said. Adnoc aims to boost oil production capacity to 5 million barrels a day by 2030 from more than 3 million now.