Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) is preparing to prequalify foreign bidders for stakes in its onshore oil concessions, which are due to be awarded by 2014.

Director general Abdulla Nasser al-Suwaidi told reporters in Abu Dhabi that the state-owned company was in the selection process for bidders, Bloomberg reported.

Adnoc’s onshore oil concessions are currently operated by Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco), a joint venture of Adnoc, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, BP and Portugal-based Partex Oil & Gas.  

Adnoc is widely expected to change the ownership structure of its onshore assets when the Adco agreement expires in 2014. However, it is unclear whether a single joint company will continue to run the emirate’s main onshore fields, or if the operations will be split between several newly formed operators.

Along with international oil majors, there are likely to be several Asian companies bidding for concessions. In March, two South Korean energy firms won a 30-year deal with Adnoc to develop three oil blocks in the UAE.

The concessions held by Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (Adma-Opco), which operates most of Abu Dhabi’s offshore oilfields, is set to expire by 2018.