UK/Dutch Shell Group and the UK’s BP are still in the running to take part in a new concession to operate Abu Dhabi’s onshore fields, according to the UAE’s oil minister.

The UK-based Telegraph newspaper quoted Suhail al-Mazrouei saying that “Shell and BP are amongst those companies that submitted bids”.

“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 [to] play a role in the future of the oil industry in Abu Dhabi,” he added.

Abu Dhabi has given away very little information about the process of forming a new onshore concession since the 35-year Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco) partnership expired in January.

According to media reports, previous partner ExxonMobil has declined to bid for the new contract. Other companies in the running are thought to be former Adco members BP, Shell and France’s Total, along with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Italy’s Eni, Japan’s Inpex, Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC), US-based Occidental Petroleum and Norway’s Statoil.