The Abu Dhabi Government and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) have added Wintershall Holding GmbH to the Ghasha ultra-sour gas mega-project with a 10 percent stake. The Ghasha concession consists of the Hail, Ghasha, Dalma and other offshore sour gas fields, including Nasr, SARB and Mubarraz. Wintershall will contribute 10 percent of the project capital and operational development expenses.
Germany’s largest crude oil and natural gas producer – and a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF, the world’s largest chemicals company by sales – joins Italy’s Eni as partners with ADNOC in the project. Eni was awarded a 25 percent stake in the Ghasha concession earlier this month. The agreement marks the first time a German oil and gas company has been awarded a stake in an Abu Dhabi concession area and underscores ADNOC’s objective to expand and diversify its strategic partnership base.
The concession agreement, which has a term of 40 years, was signed by Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO, and Mario Mehren, CEO of Wintershall.
The announcement builds on the momentum generated by the Supreme Petroleum Council’s (SPC) approval of ADNOC’s new integrated gas strategy, targeted to unlock and maximize value from Abu Dhabi’s substantial, available gas reserves, as the UAE moves towards gas self-sufficiency and aims to transition from a net importer of gas to a net gas exporter.
Dr. Al Jaber said, "Development of the Ghasha concession area is a strategic priority for ADNOC. The gas, extracted from the concession area, at commercial rates, will make a significant contribution to fulfilling our commitment to ensuring a sustainable and economic gas supply and achieving our objective of gas self-sufficiency for the UAE.
"In common with ADNOC, Wintershall has extensive experience of appraising and developing ultra-sour gas resources in technically complex fields. It is a partnership in which each company will benefit from the experience of the other as, together, we optimise costs and ensure we extract the maximum value from all the available gas resources. It builds on our long experience of sour gas production and strengthens our ambition to establish a center of excellence, in Abu Dhabi, for sour gas development."
The Ghasha ultra-sour concession will tap into the Arab basin, which is estimated to hold multiple trillions of standard cubic feet of recoverable gas. The project is expected to produce over 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day when it comes on stream, around the middle of the next decade, enough to provide electricity to more than two million homes. Once complete, the project will also produce more than 120,000 barrels of oil and high value condensates per day.
Over the project’s life-time, substantial benefits will flow back into the UAE economy under ADNOC’s In-Country Value program, which is designed to stimulate commercial opportunities for local businesses, catalyze socio-economic development, develop an ultra-sour gas hub for the region and create additional employment opportunities for UAE nationals.
Mehren said, "We are delighted to be partners in this project, supporting ADNOC’s 2030 smart growth strategy. The project also fits excellently with our strategy. We have been working since 2010 on strengthening the Middle East region by investing here and developing it into another growth region for Wintershall. And we achieved that goal today by signing the contract. We are proud that ADNOC is placing its trust in Wintershall as a partner. We want to establish a strong and long-term cooperation in Abu Dhabi. Together with ADNOC, we will build up substantial production.
"Natural gas production in Abu Dhabi complements our existing portfolio in an ideal way. We have decades of experience to offer in safely developing sour gas fields. We will contribute our technical know-how, strength in implementing projects and cost-effectiveness, in Abu Dhabi, in the coming decades.
"Wintershall is particularly qualified for the offshore operations in the Ghasha concession. We are experts in drilling technically demanding wells and developing fields efficiently. And we know precisely what counts in ecologically sensitive areas," Mehren added.
In addition to developing the Ghasha concession area, ADNOC plans to increase production from its Shah field to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day and move forward to develop the sour gas fields at Bab and Bu Hasa. ADNOC will also unlock other sources of gas which include Abu Dhabi’s giant Umm Shaif gas cap and the emirate’s unconventional gas reserves, as well as new natural gas accumulations, which will continue to be appraised and developed as the company pursues its exploration activities.
As a technology-driven exploration and development specialist, Wintershall has more than 40 years of experience in the production of sour gas. It has developed 16 fields in Germany, produced 30 billion cubic meters of sour gas and built four gas purification plants. The company has been active in the extraction of natural resources for 120 years, and in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas for over 85 years.