South Korea’s GS Energy is set to become the third company to win a stake in Abu Dhabi’s onshore oil concession, according to a report by Bloomberg news agency.

The company is expected to sign a contract to join Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations (Adco) later this week, claims the report, citing industry sources.

State-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has to date awarded a 10 per cent stake in Adco to French oil major Total and a 5 per cent interest to Japanese energy group Inpex.

GS Energy, the energy arm of GS Holdings Corporation, was not thought to be one of the original companies submitting a bid to enter the 40-year concession to operate Abu Dhabi’s onshore oil fields.

GS Energy bid for a 5 per cent stake in the joint venture, and the award would likely cost the South Korean firm a signing fee of $1.1bn, equal to Inpex’s payment.

Adco is aiming to increase its production capacity to 1.8 million barrels a day (b/d), from a current level of about 1.6 million b/d. This represents more than half the crude output capacity of the UAE.

Awarding a stake to a South Korean company could be in line with Abu Dhabi’s strategy to strengthen ties with the countries buying its crude.

The majority ofthe emirate’s crude exports head east – to Japan, South Korea, China and India – and its leadership has gradually given its customer countries larger roles in its upstream oil sector.

In early 2012, GS Energy was given a stake in a 30 per cent joint venture to develop three oil blocks in Abu Dhabi.

State-run Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) leads the consortium with a 34 per cent stake, GS Energy holds 6 per cent and Adnoc retains a 60 per cent interest.

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