April 10 (UPI) -- The state-owned oil company in Abu Dhabi said it opened its first bidding round to gain access to billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet in gas.
"The launch of these large new licensing blocks is an important step for Abu Dhabi and ADNOC as we develop and apply new strategies to realize the full potential of our resources, maximize value through competitive bidding and accelerate the exploration and development of new commercial opportunities," Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. CEO Ahmed al-Jaber said in a statement.
Austrian energy company OMV last week became the latest in a growing list of foreign companies wading into oil fields off the coast of Abu Dhabi, acquiring a 20 percent working interest in the offshore Satah al-Razboot complex, which includes satellite fields Bin Nasher and al-Bateel, and Umm Lulu. The deal with Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. included infrastructure associated with the fields for a combined price of $1.5 billion.
ADNOC so far this year has signed agreements with Asian energy companies, Italian major Eni and French supermajor Total.
The United Arab Emirates is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and party to its multilateral effort to trim a market surplus with production caps. Emirati production in February averaged 2.8 million barrels per day, about 3 percent less than the full-year average for 2017.
ADNOC estimates that, based on existing field data, the blocks up for grabs "hold multiple billion barrels of oil and multiple trillion cubic feet of natural gas."
"As we begin to expand our downstream portfolio, the new licensing blocks reinforce our long term production growth ambitions and builds on our successful legacy as a leading upstream player," Jaber said.
Nearly all of the Emirati reserves are in Abu Dhabi. Four blocks onshore and two offshore are on the auction block with the close set for October. The conclusion, with formal result announcements, is expected by the end of the year.