The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) inked an agreement on March 17th, awarding onshore Block 4 to Japan’s INPEX Corporation.

The 35-year agreement gives INPEX the block’s exploration rights through its subsidiary JODCO Exploration Limited, which will run the concession on behalf of INPEX, ADNOC said in a statement.

The agreement was signed by Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of State and ADNOC CEO, and Takayuki Ueda, President and CEO of INPEX CORPORATION.

“This award to INPEX is a further demonstration of how ADNOC is utilizing value-adding partnerships and new technologies to accelerate the exploration and development of Abu Dhabi’s substantial untapped hydrocarbon resources,” Al Jaber said.

“This agreement to explore and appraise oil and gas opportunities in a highly promising sector of Abu Dhabi underpins the importance of our ongoing partnership,” Ueda commented.

INPEX will own a 100% stake during the exploration phase and will invest around $176 million to explore and evaluate oil and gas opportunities in the block.

After finalizing the exploration phase, INPEX will be able to develop any commercial discoveries and ADNOC will have the choice to own a 60% stake during the production phase.

The deal has been authorized by Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC), representing the strong relationship between the UAE and Japan.