The Anglo-Dutch energy group, Royal Dutch Shell, and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) have signed a preliminary agreement to develop and produce offshore deep gas fields in Abu Dhabi.

ADNOC and Shell are joint venture partners in the Abu Dhabi Onshore Company (ADCO) and Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (GASCO).

The deal will see Shell evaluate potential joint exploration to move forward with the final agreements.

The agreement follows ADNOC’s deal with ConocoPhillips to develop sour gas reserves in the United Arab Emirates at an estimated cost of $10bn (£6.33bn).

Final terms of the project with ConocoPhillips are expected to be agreed by the end of this year.