Italy’s Eni is due to sign a contract with state producer Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. for two offshore oil blocks in the Arabian Gulf, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Eni won a stake in the Lower Zakum crude deposit and the right to develop a separate area containing the Umm Shaif and Nasr fields, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
The award marks Eni’s first foray into oil development in the UAE, where Abu Dhabi, the country’s largest sheikhdom, holds most of the crude.
Adnoc officials declined to comment. Officials at Eni couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Rome-based Eni is the fourth international company to secure rights to one of Adnoc’s new offshore concessions and the first to sign up for the Umm Shaif and Nasr block.
The award adds to Eni’s Middle Eastern operations, which include producing crude in Libya and Iraq, along with natural gas at Egypt’s largest offshore field.
Abu Dhabi plans to raise output capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day by the end of the year, even as the UAE curbs output as part of a global effort to clear a glut. Adnoc says it currently can pump about 3 million barrels daily, with just under half coming from offshore deposits. Abu Dhabi holds about 6 percent of the world’s crude reserves.
The emirate is seeking partners that can add downstream technology and join projects that will double refining capacity and nearly triple petrochemical output, Adnoc said last week. It plans to offer projects for investment as early as May and will also seek bids for new exploration blocks, the company said.
Abu Dhabi divided up an existing offshore oil partnership into three blocks and is seeking new partners to hold as much as 40 percent of each of the new concessions.
The current contract governing those deposits as a single block expired on March 8, with Total, BP and Japan’s Inpex as partners. Adnoc will keep a 60 percent stake in each of the new offshore concessions.
Spanish refiner Cia Espanola de Petroleos SA paid $1.5 billion for a 20 percent stake in the Sateh Al Razboot and Umm Lulu fields in a deal announced Feb. 18.
A group of Indian companies paid $600 million for rights to 10 percent of Lower Zakum on Feb. 10, and Japan’s Inpex bought the same-sized stake later that month.
OMV, an Austrian energy company almost 25 percent owned by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment, is also poised to win a stake in the offshore concessions, people with knowledge of the matter said last month.
Neither BP nor Total has signed a new deal for any of the offshore fields. Both companies are partners in Abu Dhabi’s main onshore block.
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