Royal Dutch Shell is "very interested" in renewing its right to pump oil in a venture with Abu Dhabi's state-run crude producer after its concession expires in 2014, an executive with the Anglo-Dutch company said.
Shell wants to develop natural-gas resources to help meet Abu Dhabi's rising domestic demand and to bolster its partnership, John Barry, the company's country chairman in the emirate, said at a conference in Abu Dhabi.
International oil companies aim to develop oil and gas deposits to replace energy they consume by pumping at current fields.
Shell, along with Exxon Mobil, Total and BP, all partners in the Abu Dhabi concession, also signed agreements with Iraq to boost output there.
Shell is exploring for gas in Saudi Arabia and will produce more of that fuel than it will pump oil next year, Barry said.
"Shell and the other IOCs will want to maintain their stake in Abu Dhabi," said Robin Mills, head of consulting at Dubai-based energy advisory Manaar. "It's a major part of their production and reserves. It's also important to them as a test-bed for new technologies, and a way of maintaining a Middle East presence which they can use to win business elsewhere."
A decision about renewing Shell's holding is in the hands of Abu Dhabi National Oil (Adnoc), and the emirate's Supreme Petroleum Council, Barry said.
Shell has a stake in Adnoc's onshore unit, Abu Dhabi Co for Onshore Oil Operations, until 2014. Adnoc owns 60 per cent of the unit, with Shell, Exxon, Total, BP and Partex Oil & Gas holding the rest.