UAE denies Qatar trade link over Abu Dhabi oil field deal

Elias Hubbard
March 14, 2018

Qatar's signing of the deal with its Arab neighbour is symbolic as it has been blocked by the Gulf countries and former allies, including the United Arab Emirates, for the past nine months.

But even what should have been a routine transaction for the al-Bunduq offshore field in the Persian Gulf became yet another skirmish in the boycott of Qatar by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The field's crude oil production is exported to Japan and other Asian markets.

The company added, pointedly, that the deal showed it was a "trustworthy" energy provider "at all times and under all conditions".

The signed agreement replaces the original concession agreement signed in March 1953 between the ruler of Abu Dhabi and D'Arcy Exploration Company Limited, which was amended several times since then.

The previous deal to operate the oilfield ended earlier this month. Doha said past year it had no plans to halt gas supplies despite the regional rift. "It has been under management by a Japanese consortium for the past four decades", the council said in a statement cited by UAE state news agency WAM.

The al-Bunduq field, located some 200 kilometers (125 miles) northwest of Abu Dhabi and 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Doha, has been shared between the two governments since 1969, before they declared independence from the British.

Abu Dhabi oil officials later issued a statement of their own saying the renewal involved "no direct communication or engagement between the two states". "No contacts or dealings took place with the Qatari side", the statement said.

The blockade of Qatar began last June, after its neighbors accused it of aiding militant groups and of having too close ties with Iran.

World Cup 2022 host Qatar categorically refutes the claims and says its rivals are trying to force through regime change in Doha.

The quartet imposed a land, sea, and air blockade on Qatar, and also prevented Qatari aircraft from entering their airspace.

The SPC's reaction suggests that the UAE is anxious about giving off the impression that it has dealings with Qatar despite the blockade, even though it is happy enough to continue receiving Qatari natural gas-an act that has not thus far provoked a reaction from its fellow blockade partners.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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