UAE energy minister hopes Western partners keep oilfields role

Reuters - UK Focus

PARIS, April 11 (Reuters) - The energy minister of theUnited Arab Emirates said on Friday he hoped Western oilcompanies historically in charge of Abu Dhabi's biggestoilfields would keep a role, but that no one was assured ofkeeping their seat when concessions are renewed.

"There is a process. (...) What's important is that it'sfair to the newcomers as it is to the previous shareholders.This is a lifetime exercise and we have to do it right," Suhailbin Mohamed Al Mazrouei told reporters on the sidelines of aconference in Paris.

The OPEC member country has held a 60 percent stake in AbuDhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) since acquiringan interest in fields that produce over half the United ArabEmirates' oil.

Four of the world's largest stock market-listed energycompanies - ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell (Xetra: R6C1.DE - news) ,Total (NYSE: TOT - news) and BP - have each held 9.5 percentequity stakes in the ADCO concession since the 1970s and wouldbe keen to prolong their involvement.

After their deal expired on Jan. 11, Abu Dhabi National OilCompany (ADNOC) took 100 percent of the ADCO concession in whatwas seen as a temporary measure while political leaders in theUAE decide whether to let Asian oil buyers in for the long haul.

"No one is assured to keep a seat, it's a bidding, we wisheveryone good luck, especially our legacy partners, they are thebest and understand the fields because they've been there for 70years, we hope they will be among those who are winning," AlMazrouei said.

"They've been with us for a very long time, they understandthe fields. I think they will have a good chance," he added. (Reporting by Michel Rose, editing by Gus Trompiz and DavidEvans)

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