The UK’s Petrofac has been awarded a contract worth more than $250m by the emirate of Sharjah to operate the Sajaa gas plant, 30 kilometres from the city.

The five-year ‘Duty Holder Services” contract covers the provision of management services to the government, including drilling, well services, plant operations, and reservoir management, according to an 11 October statement.

State-run Sharjah Petroleum Council holds a 60 per cent stake in the Sharjah gas and associated liquids concession, while UK oil major BP holds the remaining 40 per cent. BP acts as the operator of all petroleum operations in the concession, together with the Sajaa gas processing plant and associated storage, pipelines, condensate export terminal and Shalco liquid petroleum gas (LPG) facilities.

BP’s concession expires in November 2013. According to the statement, the Sharjah government and BP are actively working together to ensure “a smooth transition of the BP-operated facilities to the government”.

Petrofac will assume control of operations by the end of 2010, while the Sharjah government will become the concession operator. Around 130 personnel, currently involved in running the operations, will transfer to Petrofac during the transition programme.

Abu Dhabi has the most oil reserves of the UAE, with 92.2 billion barrels of crude oil reserves, followed by Dubai with 4 billion barrels and Sharjah with 1.5 billion barrels. Sharjah also contains some 10.7 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, compared to 198.5 tcf located in Abu Dhabi.