It follows a meeting between Shell’s exploration head Malcolm Brinded, and senior Adnoc executives in Abu Dhabi on 2 November.

The oil major says once the initial evaluation period is complete, it hopes to finalise agreements in order to quickly begin joint exploration and development activities.

Shell already holds a 9.5 per cent stake in Adnoc subsidiary Abu Dhabi Onshore Company (Adco), and a 15 per cent interest in Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company (Gasco).

Shell was one of the early favourites to win the $10bn-plus award for Abu Dhabi’s high profile onshore Shah gas field earlier in 2008, after conducting all the initial engineering and conceptual work on the emirate’s sour gas potential.

However, Adnoc opted for the US’ ConocoPhillips to carry out the work (MEED 11:1:08).