On December 21, 2020, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) announced the signing of an exploration concession agreement, awarding the exploration rights for Abu Dhabi’s Offshore Block 3 to a consortium led by Eni Abu Dhabi B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of multinational energy company, Eni, and PTTEP MENA Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP).
The award has been approved by Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) and it follows on from ADNOC’s award that month of an onshore block to the Occidental Petroleum Corporation.
The exploration concession agreement was signed by His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and ADNOC Group CEO; Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Eni; and Phongsthorn Thavisin, CEO of PTTEP.
H.E. Dr. Al Jaber said that this concession award reinforces ADNOC and Eni’s growing partnership across their value chain and deepens the company’s relationship with Thailand’s PTTEP, one of the key markets for our crude oil and products.
“This again validates our targeted approach to value-add partnerships that contribute the right combination of capital, technology, capabilities and market access to accelerate the development of Abu Dhabi’s hydrocarbon resources,” he said.
“Despite volatile market conditions, we are making very good progress in delivering Abu Dhabi’s second competitive block bid round, underscoring our world-class resource potential and the UAE’s stable and reliable investment environment.”
“We continue to welcome partners that share our vision to sustainably unlock value from our hydrocarbon resources for our mutual benefit, as we deliver on our 2030 strategy and enable long-term returns to the UAE.”
Under the terms of this agreement, Eni will operate the exploration phase of the concession, and PTTEP and Eni will collectively hold a 100 per cent stake in the exploration phase, investing up to AED1.51 billion towards exploration and appraisal drilling, including a participation fee, to explore for and appraise oil and gas opportunities in Offshore Block 3.
This award underscores the attractiveness of Abu Dhabi’s huge untapped resource potential and ADNOC’s ability to continue to secure foreign direct investment (FDI) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), despite the tough market environment. Offshore Block 3 offers the potential to create significant in-country value for the UAE over the lifetime of the concession.
Claudio Descalzi said that the award follows the one achieved by the same consortium in 2019 for offshore exploration Blocks 1 and 2 and represents a further important step towards the realization of Eni’s strategy to become a leading actor in the development and production in Abu Dhabi, while contributing through its expertise in exploration to add further resources and exploit all potential synergies with the surrounding fields.
“It also further strengthen our relationship with our valuable partner PPTEP. Offshore Block 3 represents a challenging opportunity that can unlock significant value thanks to exploration and appraisal of shallow and deep reservoirs,” Mr Descalzi said.
Following successful commercial discovery during the exploration phase, Eni and PTTEP will, together, have the right to a production concession to develop and produce such commercial discoveries.
ADNOC has the option to hold a 60 per cent stake in the production phase of the concession.
The term of the production phase is 35 years from the commencement of the exploration phase.
Phongsthorn Thavisin added that the concession award offers another great opportunity for PTTEP to strengthen collaboration with world-class strategic partners Eni and ADNOC.
“The consortium will bring capabilities, experiences and technology to accelerate the development of Offshore Block 3, as well as Offshore Blocks 1 and 2, and lead to a successful discovery,” he said.
“The strategic partnership has been established to jointly contribute to the petroleum development in UAE and be part of the growing industry. Meanwhile, this business progress has also reinforced our presence in the Middle East following the company’s Execute and Expand strategy. Such approach aims to sustainably increase both petroleum reserves and production in the future.”
Offshore Block 3 covers an offshore area of approximately 11,660 square kilometres northwest of Abu Dhabi city.
New 3D seismic data has been acquired for a part of the block, which, combined with its proximity to the existing onshore oil and gas fields, suggests the concession area has promising potential.
In addition to drilling exploration and appraisal wells, the exploration phase will see Eni and PTTEP leverage and contribute financially and technically to ADNOC’s mega seismic survey, which is already acquiring seismic data within the block area.