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New York Times: Firms Compete for $10 Billion Gas Project

By REUTERS
Published: April 16, 2007

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 15 (Reuters) — At least five international energy companies submitted bids on Sunday for a giant sour gas project in the United Arab Emirates that could have a price tag as high as $10 billion.

The project is one of the largest open to oil and gas companies competing for limited access to the Middle East’s energy reserves. Saudi Arabia, which has the world’s biggest oil reserves, is closed to international companies, while the gas exporter Qatar has a moratorium on new projects.

“This is the largest gas development in the region in terms of gross production,” said Colin Lothian, a senior analyst for the Middle East at the global consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

“It is also one of the biggest projects available for participation of international companies. The successful bidder will look forward to a long-term role in the future of Abu Dhabi’s gas development.”

BP and Royal Dutch Shell said on Sunday, the last day to submit bids, that they had made an offer. Total of France, ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum were also said to be in the running.

The state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Company had solicited bids from several other companies including Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Wintershall, a subsidiary of the German chemical company BASF. It was unclear on Sunday which of these companies had bid.

The winner would take a 40 percent stake in the project.

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