TOKYO—Japan’s Inpex Corp. has secured a 5% stake in Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations, or ADCO, one of the Gulf nation’s biggest oil concessions, becoming the second foreign stakeholder after France’s Total SA .
The move suggests that as part of Tokyo’s efforts to shore up its energy supplies, the partly state-owned Japanese energy company was prepared to pay a hefty signing-on fee that other big players in the industry have balked at.
While the concession is open to tender by the Abu Dhabi government, many international oil giants competing to become partners in ADCO have been struggling to meet the Emirate’s demand for a $2.2 billion sign-on fee because plunging oil prices in the second half of 2014 have squeezed their profits.
According to a person familiar with the matter, Japan’s Inpex agreed to pay $1.1 billion for the 5% stake.
An Inpex spokesman declined to specify how much of a sign-on fee the company agreed to pay.
Total was the first foreign company awarded a 40-year stake in January, with a 10% share. The Inpex move leaves a 25% stake available out of a 40% share earmarked for foreign companies.
ADCO is one of the biggest oil concessions in the oil-rich Gulf nation, covering 15 onshore fields and producing 1.6 million barrels a day of crude oil.
BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC are also believed to be among the remaining contenders for a new 40-year contract, but are locked in a standoff over terms. China National Petroleum Corp. is thought to be another contender.
Exxon Mobil Corp. walked away from the concession after the company’s 75-year license expired in January 2014.
Output from the concession can be loaded at a port off the Strait of Hormuz using a pipeline.
Yoichi Miyazawa, Japan’s industry minister, said Monday that the share in the concession would contribute much to Japan’s energy security.
Tokyo has been in talks with Abu Dhabi for years to secure the stake as part of its efforts to increase oil output from projects in which Japanese companies have stakes.-WSJ