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By racking up exploration agreements in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Bahrain, Eni took a big step forward in its pledge to tap into the Middle East’s vast swaths of highly prospective oil and gas acreage. The French major will become operator of the Ruwais Diyab concession, and ADNOC says additional companies are lining up to partner on the emirate’s other unconventional areas. The union marks the first time an international company has taken a direct equity stake in one of ADNOC’s service companies. BHGE will expand its presence in UAE, while ADNOC will gain access to BHGE technological expertise and proprietary equipment. Abu Dhabi will conduct its first-ever competitive tender for international partners to explore and develop oil and gas blocks onshore and offshore.