Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) and Germany’s Wintershall said on Nov. 26 they would develop offshore gas and condensate fields as Wintershall widens its regional focus and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) firm benefits from its partner’s experience in sour gas.

Wintershall said it had signed a deal to acquire a 10% stake in the Ghasha concession in Abu Dhabi with investments running into billions of dollars. This would be alongside ADNOC as operator and Italy’s Eni, which was awarded a 25% stake earlier this month.

Contracts to develop the deposits were awarded for 40 years.

The deal builds on ADNOC’s new, integrated gas strategy aimed at unlocking value from Abu Dhabi’s reserves as the UAE moves toward gas self-sufficiency, Wintershall cited ADNOC CEO Sultan al-Jaber as saying.

“Wintershall has extensive experience of appraising and developing ultra-sour gas resources in technically complex fields,” he said.

Wintershall has more than 40 years’ experience in production from 16 sour gas fields in Germany.

Sour gas is a high-sulphide hydrocarbon that is now mostly exhausted in Germany, where Wintershall has produced 30 billion cubic metres of it and built four gas purification plants.

In the Middle East, mass production of sweet gas, which does not need cleansing, used to be the norm.

The partners envisage producing more than 40 million cubic meters per day from around the middle of the next decade, when the project could supply gas for electricity for over 2 million homes.

Once completed, the project could also produce over 120,000 barrels of oil per day.

Wintershall, a subsidiary of chemicals company BASF, has been present in the UAE since 2010.

Apart from the Middle East, it also has operations in Europe, Russia, Latin America and North Africa.

European gas resources are falling in the long term and Libya’s oil output has been eroded by years of armed conflict and political turmoil, prompting Wintershall to emphasize gas over oil as well as new regions.

Wintershall is merging with sector peer DEA.

As for the Ghasha project, the first E&P licenses for six oil and gas blocks are expected to be awarded in first-quarter 2019, ADNOC said last week.