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Statoil Vies for a Stake in Abu Dhabi’s Offshore Oil

Statoil ASA is among producers involved in discussions with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. about joining offshore production in the emirate, according to a Norwegian diplomatic dispatch.

“All the major oil companies, including Statoil, are positioning themselves for a cooperation with Adnoc in the offshore segment,” Norway’s embassy in Abu Dhabi wrote in a message to the Foreign Ministry in Oslo dated Aug. 17, which was obtained by Bloomberg through a freedom-of-information request.

The diplomatic wire made direct reference to an Aug. 7 statement from Adnoc in which Abu Dhabi’s state oil company said it was in “advanced discussions with potential partners” for an offshore oil concession that expires in March and will be split into several parts under new terms. Adnoc said at the time that more than a dozen companies were involved in talks, including existing concessionaires and new participants, without mentioning names. Existing international partners include Exxon Mobil Corp., BP Plc and Total SA.

Statoil, which has had an office in Abu Dhabi since 2010 to look for business opportunities in the region, has an “ongoing dialog” with Adnoc, spokesman Erik Haaland said by phone. He declined to comment on whether Statoil was involved in discussions over the offshore concessions.

“The Middle-East is a very interesting area for our industry, and one of the most resource-rich areas in the world,” Haaland said. “We’re looking at a broad range of opportunities.”

BP and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s biggest oil company, declined to comment. Total and Exxon couldn’t immediately comment. Adnoc responded to a request for comment by referring to its Aug. 7 statement.

Existing Concession

The existing offshore concession is currently operated by the Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Co., or ADMA-OPCO, which is 60 percent owned by Adnoc. Production capacity is planned to reach about 1 million barrels of oil a day by 2021, compared with 700,000 barrels currently.

Adnoc plans to merge ADMA-OPCO with the Zakum Development Co., or Zadco, of which it also owns 60 percent, by the end of the year. International shareholders in ADMA-OPCO are BP with 14.67 percent, Total with 13.33 percent and Japan Oil Development Co. with 12 percent. Exxon owns 28 percent of Zadco, while Jodco holds 12 percent.

The new concessions will include a mix of the Lower Zakum, Umm Shaif, Nasr, Umm Lulu and Satah Al Razboot fields, according to Adnoc’s Aug. 7 statement. Adnoc will retain a 60 percent stake in the new areas.

— With assistance by Rakteem Katakey, Mahmoud Habboush, and Francois De Beaupuy


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