UAE oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) said it would acquire a 30% stake in Azerbaijan’s Absheron gas and condensate field in the Caspian Sea. 

The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and TotalEnergies will each keep a 35% stake in the field in the transaction, which marks the UAE oil company’s entry into the international gas market. 

A statement from ADNOC said financial details of the deal are not being disclosed but said TotalEnergies and SOCAR had previously owned 50% stakes in the field. 

The oil company said the partnership will allow the company to build a major footprint in a region with prolific natural resources and significant growth potential, and is a route into international growth markets for gas in Europe and Central Asia.

Natural gas will play a crucial role as a “key transition fuel” as the world transitions to a low-carbon energy system, ADNOC added.

Nicolas Terraz, president, exploration and production, TotalEnergies, said the first phase of production started at the field in early July and there was “significant further development potential” to meet growing gas demand.

ADNOC and SOCAR also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to evaluate areas of collaboration across renewable energy, low carbon solutions and upstream projects in the UAE, Azerbaijan and internationally.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) defines natural gas as “emitting less carbon than most other fossil fuels” with a limited role as a transition fuel from coal to renewable energy sources, and which may still be needed as back-up for variable wind and solar power.

(Writing by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Brinda Darasha)