The UAE’s third largest emirate, Sharjah, is following the lead of Abu Dhabi in its ambition to boost domestic resources and reduce reliance on pipeline imports from Qatar, which remains subject to the Saudi-led blockade. In its first ever upstream tender launched last year, the Sharjah National Oil Corporation (SNOC) awarded all blocks on offer to Italy’s Eni. The three onshore blocks – areas A, B and C – were offered under 30-year concessions agreements. But while SNOC is capitalising on the UAE’s determination to boost indigenous exploration, the emirate also wants to tackle declining output from existing fields amid soaring domestic demand. Masoud al-Hamadi, exploration and production manager at SNOC talks to Gas Matters about the next steps for the newly awarded blocks, and shares how upstream projects fit into Sharjah’s wider gas vision, including a proposed LNG FSRU and the development of its own underground storage facility.