France seeks to boost Total as Abu Dhabi prepares new oil concessions
ABU DHABI - Oil giant Total has a "good" chance to keep its operating share in Abu Dhabi's onshore oilfields as the Gulf emirate prepares new concessions, France's international trade minister said Monday.
Total has a 9.5 percent share in the 75-year-old concession which has come to an end on January 10, while the emirate is expected to select by 2015 the international bidders.
"Total's chances are good," French International Trade Minister Nicole Bricq said on the sideline of an energy conference in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates federation.
"It is a loyal partner, which has heavily invested and is appreciated... I am hopeful. It must be treated as a great partner and I think it deserves it," she said.
Total and four other international companies -- comprising Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil and Partex Oil and Gas, held a 40 percent stake in the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations(ADCO), since the concession was given in 1939.
The government's Abu Dhabi National Oil Co held the remaining 60 percent.
ADCO, which accounts for more than half of the emirate's oil production, will continue to operate the concession areas until ADNOC has processed bids by international companies for a new concession.
Industry sources expect the process to be completed in 2015.
The UAE, OPEC's fourth largest supplier, is one of the last few nations that have such agreements with international oil majors.
UAE Energy Minister Suheil al-Mazrouei said in October that his country was on track to raise its crude oil production to 3.5 million barrels per day by 2017.
Current output is estimated at around 2.9 million bpd.
More than 90 percent of the estimated 100 billion barrels of UAE reserves are concentrated in Abu Dhabi, the largest emirate in the seven-member federation.