BP Loses Bid to Oust Spill Claims Chief Patrick Juneau
BP Logo Reuters

British oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP are among international companies bidding to operate some of the biggest onshore oil fields in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Telegraph citing Suhail Al-Mazrouei, minister of energy for the UAE and a member of the Gulf state's powerful Supreme Petroleum Council, reported that the companies are under consideration, as the country looks to renew contracts to produce oil from onshore fields in Abu Dhabi.

"Shell and BP are amongst those companies that submitted bids," Al Mazrouei was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

"We respect the long and historical relationship and investments they still have in the UAE. They have been legacy partners, and we hope they will have a chance and play a role in the future of the oil industry in Abu Dhabi."

There were about 11 international companies competing for the oilfields. If the Shell or BP wins in the bid, it would a major triumph for British business in Abu Dhabi, which controls the world's sixth-largest petroleum reserves.

The companies appeared to have lost ground to Chinese rivals earlier.

Both Shell and BP, among other international oil giants, are involved in UAE's onshore oil production for decades. They made agreements with the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations to produce significant volumes of oil and gas in the region.

However, these agreements, dating back to the dawn of Gulf oil production, expired in 2014, triggering a bidding war among international oil majors for the strategic oilfield assets.