ABU DHABI, (Reuters) – French oil major Total plans to bid for the development of the United Arab Emirates’ Bab gas field, a senior company executive said on Sunday.
The UAE holds the world’s seventh-largest gas reserves, at around 227.1 trillion cubic feet, according to BP statistics. Much of the UAE’s gas is sour.
The world’s third-largest oil exporter launched in 2007 a tender to develop the Shah and Bab fields.
The complexity of developing both fields led Abu Dhabi to split the tender. The UAE has said the Bab field would be developed later.
“We are interested in the Bab field and not Shah because our technology is more suited for Bab,” said Jean-Luc Guiziou, Total’s vice president of exploration and production for the Middle East.
“But the government has chosen to focus on Shah first,” Guiziou told reporters on the sidelines of an industry event in Abu Dhabi.
Guiziou did not say when the field would be auctioned.
The UAE is short of gas and is moving ahead with the $10 billion Shah field development despite the withdrawal of its partner for the project, ConocoPhillips, in late April.
Industry sources said in June the UAE wants Royal Dutch Shell to step in as its partner at Shah.
The gas in the Bab field is dryer than the gas at Shah, Guiziou added.
The gas at Shah contains around 30 percent deadly hydrogen sulphide, making it tougher to produce than conventional gas reserves.
On a Kuwait heavy oil technical service agreement, Guiziou said he expected an award to take place “in the near future”. He did not elaborate.
A senior Kuwait oil official said in June the Gulf Arab state was making progress on technical service agreements with international energy firms and discussions on one or more could be finished this year.