A consortium of four Pakistani oil companies has been awarded exploration rights for Offshore Block-5 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc), the first time the UAE’s biggest energy producer granted a concession to firms from Pakistan. Pakistan Petroleum Ltd (PPL) is leading the consortium that also includes Mari Petroleum Co Ltd (MPCL), Oil and Gas Development Co Ltd (OGDCL) and Government Holdings (Private) Ltd (GHPL) which were awarded the contract in Adnoc’s second competitive block bid round. PPL accounts for around 20 percent of Pakistan’s total natural gas supplies and produces crude oil, NGLs and LPG. The award “underscores Adnoc’s expanded approach to strategic partnerships, including those who can provide access to key growth markets for the company’s crude oil and products,” Adnoc said on Tuesday. “Under the terms of the agreement, the consortium will hold a 100pc stake in the exploration phase, investing up to $304.7 million towards exploration and appraisal drilling, including a participation fee, to explore for and appraise oil and gas opportunities in the block that covers an offshore area of 6,223 square kilometres and is located 100 kilometres northeast of Abu Dhabi city,” it added. The term of the contract is for 35 years from the start of exploration, with the “potential” to create significant inflows of in-country value for the UAE economy, Adnoc said on Tuesday. The value of the contract covers exploration, appraisal drilling and a participation fee. “This historic exploration concession award marks a new chapter of energy co-operation in the 50-year old UAE-Pakistan relationship,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and managing director and group chief executive of Adnoc. “It represents an important platform upon which we can drive win-win opportunities to support Pakistan’s energy security and further strengthen the strategic and economic ties between our two countries,” he added. Dr Al Jaber said the partners are “optimistic” about “the potential to unlock significant value” from the hydrocarbon exploration in the second competitive bid round. Managing Director and Chief Executive of PPL, Moin Raza Khan said this award is not only a watershed moment for Pakistan and the emirate of Abu Dhabi towards bilateral energy cooperation and economic links but also offers an opportunity to strengthen strategic cooperation with Adnoc to share technical know-how and expertise. The Pakistani consortium will hold a 100 percent stake in the exploration phase of the concession, which is located 100 kilometres north-east of Abu Dhabi city and covers an offshore area of 6,223 square kilometres. If the consortium makes a successful commercial discovery, Adnoc reserves the option to hold a 60 percent interest in the production phase of the concession.