Korea Gets UAE Oilfields Stake

A Korean consortium has signed a deal with ADNOC to acquire a 40 per cent stake in three oilfield projects in the UAE.

A Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC)-led consortium has secured South Korea’s first oil production assets in the UAE, the Korean government said on Monday.

Korea has finalised a deal with Abu Dhabi National Oil (ADNOC) to take a 40 per cent stake in two onshore and one offshore oil drilling areas, as part of a wider push by oil import dependent Asian countries to secure upstream assets.

“We now have our own oil reserves in the Middle East,” South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said in a statement.

“Through this, stable crude supply to us are more guaranteed, and our energy security taken a big step forward.”

Under the deal, state-run KNOC will hold 34 per cent and GS Energy will hold a six per cent stake in the projects. ADNOC will own 60 per cent.

The Korean consortium is expected to invest $2 billion of the estimated $5 billion total cost of developing the fields, the Korean government said in a statement.

The deal gives South Korea access to fields with combined reserves of at least 570 million barrels of oil, which Seoul has previously said it would have exclusive rights over if other oil supply sources were disrupted.

Oil production is expected to begin in 2014, if the development starts as planned later this month, and could rise to 43,000 barrels per day.

The UAE’s concessions system for existing oil and gas fields allows producers to acquire their own equity hydrocarbons from the country but they have to provide much of the investment.

To date, Western oil companies have for decades held large stakes in the concessions, but the upcoming expiry of existing concessions in 2014 offers rapidly-growing Asian economies a chance to secure more supplies from one of the world’s biggest crude exporters.