Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) and strategic partner Eni have been awarded the concession for the largest exploration block offered by the UAE.

The investment in Offshore Block 3 provides PTTEP with more opportunity to strengthen its investment portfolio in the Middle East, said the Thai company.

Its subsidiary, PTTEP MENA Ltd, and Eni Abu Dhabi BV (Eni), a subsidiary of Italy-based oil and gas company Eni, won 2019 bidding for the concession from the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

The exploration phase of the agreement has a maximum period of nine years and, subject to successful exploration, an overall concession term will extend to 35 years from the commencement of the exploration phase for development and production phases in which ADNOC has the option to hold a 60 per cent stake.

Offshore Block 3 lies next to two other blocks for which PTTEP and Eni won the licensing bidding round in 2019.

PTTEP CEO Phongsthorn Thavisin said: “This concession award offers another great opportunity for PTTEP to strengthen collaboration with world class strategic partners Eni and ADNOC.

“The consortium will bring capabilities, experience and technology to accelerate the development of Offshore Block 3, as well as Offshore Blocks 1 and 2, and lead to a successful discovery.”

Offshore Block 3 covers 11,660sq km and is the largest offshore exploration block opened for concession in UAE.

PTTEP said new 3D seismic data acquired for a part of the block suggests promising potential. PTTEP MENA and Eni, the operator of the block, will hold stakes of 30 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.

Offshore Blocks 1 and 2 are now under subsurface study, with exploration drilling planned for next year.