Total and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) have agreed to launch an unconventional gas exploration programme.
The campaign will focus on the Diyab play to the west of the prolific Adnoc Onshore concession.
The pact paves the way for two exploration and appraisal phases for a period of up to seven years, followed by a 40 year development and production period.
Total will operate the exploration phase of the new concession with a 40% interest, while Adnoc will hold the remaining 60%.
Total chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said: “We are pleased to be the first international company to pioneer unconventional gas exploration in Abu Dhabi alongside ADNOC.
“This agreement consolidates our longstanding and strategic relationship in a country and region that we know well.
“We are committed to supporting the UAE in meeting its ambitions to unlock this significant unconventional gas resource.
“The Diyab play has the potential to be a high impact play ranking alongside the most prolific North American shale gas plays, and is an excellent addition to our exploration portfolio.”