BP CEO Dudley Says Talks Ongoing on Abu Dhabi Concessions

DUBAI - BP PLC's Chief Executive Bob Dudley downplayed Monday a report that the U.K.-based oil giant may not be allowed to make a bid for the renewal of a shared license to operate some of Abu Dhabi's largest onshore oil fields, due to a reported political row between the United Arab Emirates and the U.K.

When asked by Dow Jones Newswires if BP was had been excluded from the bidding process Mr. Dudley said: "I keep reading news about that, but we haven't received an official notification of this kind."

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., or ADNOC, sent invitations in June to oil companies to bid for the renewed rights to operate the country's main onshore oil fields beyond 2014. BP at that time didn't receive an invitation, Mr. Dudley said, but "the [bidding] process is going to be underway for some time and we continue to hold talks with officials from all levels in the United Arab Emirates. We have to wait and see."

The U.K. Guardian newspaper reported Monday that BP was hopeful that U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, who is on an official visit to the region, could persuade the authorities in the United Arab Emirates to allow BP to make a bid to renew the oil concession.

The Guardian also reported that there were diplomatic tensions between the U.A.E. and the U.K. over criticism of the way the group of Gulf emirates has carried out a crackdown on Islamist extremist groups.

A person close to the matter said the U.A.E. government hasn't made a final decision on whether to invite BP to bid for the concession and the firm could be involved at a later date.

In addition to BP, Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Total SA and Partex Oil & Gas are also shareholders in Abu Dhabi's main onshore oil fields, under concession agreements that the international companies have held since 1939.

ADNOC became a partner in the fields in the 1970s, forming Abu Dhabi Co. for Onshore Oil Operations, or ADCO, which has the rights for six main deposits until 2014. It is the largest concession with capacity to produce about 1.4 and 1.5 million barrels per day.


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