In media reports on 23 April, Jim Mulva, chief executive officer of Conoco, said he expected Conoco to be able to announce soon that it had formally won the deal, which covers the extraction of up to 1 billion cubic feet a day of sour gas from the Shah field.

“We’re working very hard on this project,” he said. “Hopefully there will be an announcement that we will be working together in the next month or two we expect to be working with Adnoc. It’s an important project for Adnoc and it’s an important project for ourselves.”

Conoco emerged as frontrunner for the multi-billion-dollar development in early January after it made what is thought to be the best commercial proposal to Adnoc. Other bids were made by the UK/Dutch Shell Group and Occidental Petroleum and ExxonMobil Corporation, both of the US (MEED 10:6:08).

However, while Conoco has long been tipped to win the deal, there has been a delay in awarding the project, which has led to speculation that the scheme has encountered some obstacles, most likely of a political nature.

A spokesman for Adnoc, which rarely makes any public statements, declined to answer questions put to him by MEED on Mulva’s comments.