Abu Dhabi Plays High Stakes Oil Game

Abu Dhabi is pushing on with a rush of oil and gas awards in an apparent bid to demonstrate that low oil prices will not impact its investment program. But there is as yet no word on whether BP and Shell have made the cut for a 10% Adco stake.

The big surprise this week was the award of a contract to Occidental Petroleum for the study of two offshore fields, a puzzling development since the company has previously announced plans to divest of some Middle Eastern assets.

Oxy signed an agreement with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) to help evaluate the Hail Dalmah and Ghasha fields in a program that will run until 2017. Houston-based Oxy will have a 30% stake in a joint venture with Adnoc to evaluate development prospects for the two fields by running 3D seismic surveys, drill appraisal wells and conduct engineering studies for a total spend of $500mn. Adnoc provided few details in a statement to the official UAE news agency WAM. Oxy has not published an announcement on its website nor has it commented on the award. (CONTINUED - 1055 WORDS)