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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Conoco in Lead for Abu Dhabi Deal

By RUSSELL GOLD and OLIVER KLAUS
January 11, 2008

ConocoPhillips has emerged as the front-runner to participate in a $10 billion, multiyear project to develop the Shah natural-gas field in Abu Dhabi, according to several people familiar with negotiations.

Separately, the Houston company’s effort to build a gas pipeline in Alaska was rejected by the state’s governor, the Associated Press reported, dealing a blow to efforts to tap large supplies there.

In Abu Dhabi, ConocoPhillips is competing against Occidental Petroleum Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC which as of late last year were widely perceived as finalists for the project.

The Shah field is the type of big energy development where Western oil companies are still welcome because of their technical experience. The field’s gas is laced with heavy concentrations of sulfur, making it both poisonous and corrosive.

The project is crucial to Abu Dhabi’s desire to meet rising regional demand for gas, which has surged as the Emirates build gas-fired power stations and desalination plants. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., or Adnoc, was expected to name a partner for the project last year, and oil companies have become frustrated by the delays.

ConocoPhillips couldn’t be reached for comment.

Write to Russell Gold at [email protected] and Oliver Klaus at [email protected]

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