Eni deal a testament to Abu Dhabi's attraction

Eni agreed to a total participation fee of Dirhams 3.2 billion (around $875 million) for a 5% stake in the prized Lower Zakum concession and 10% stake in the Umm Shaif and Nasr fields, ADNOC said. A group of Indian companies paid $600 million for rights to 10 percent of Lower Zakum on February 10, and Japan's Inpex Corp. bought the same-sized stake last month. The company is the world's fourth-largest producer of polyethylene in the world.

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. The stake in the offshore Shorouk Concession encompasses the giant Zohr gas field located in the Mediterranean Sea.

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 February 18.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed and Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni attended the signing ceremony, UAE's state news agency WAM reported.

Eni joins an Indian consortium, led by ONGC Videsh, and Japan's INPEX as stakeholders in the Lower Zakum concession. On the other hand, about 30% stake in the Umm Shaif and Nasr concession is still up for grabs. The award adds a new destination to Eni's Middle East operations, which include exploration and production in Libya, Iraq, Oman and Egypt.

Combined, the fields in question have a target rate of production of 910,000 barrels of oil per day.

ADNOC hopes to increase production at the Umm Shaif and Nasr concession to 460,000 b/d, from around 300,000 b/d now, as well as producing 500 MMcf/d of gas. It split an offshore production concession that expired last week into three blocks, and Eni is the fourth global entrant to secure rights to one of the new areas.

"The stakes in the two concessions give access to giant fields with huge potential and Eni is willing to contribute its best technology to maximize the future production", Eni's CEO Claudio Descalzi said in a statement.

OMV, an Austrian energy company nearly 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. "This represents a further signal about the strength and quality of this world-class asset developed by Eni".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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