Austrian energy company OMV said it joined Germany\'s Wintershall in an upstream natural gas development in the western region of Abu Dhabi. OMV, in its first joint venture in Abu Dhabi, said it agreed with Wintershall to drill as many as three appraisal wells in the Shuwaihat field in western Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. will take part in the development and production phase should the appraisal campaign prove successful. Wintershall Chairman Rainer Seele said the upstream venture is a sign of the important role the Middle East has in natural gas development. \"The signing of our first upstream joint venture in Abu Dhabi underlines our exploration and production strategy in the Middle East and strengthens relations with the United Arab Emirates and ADNOC,\" OMV\'s Chief Executive Officer Gerhard Roiss said in a statement. The companies said that developing the Shuwaihat field would contribute not only to the growing energy demand in the United Arab Emirates but also the country\'s export capability. Both sides note they have a strong legacy of development and production of sour gas, the type expected from Shuwaihat. Sour gas contains hydrogen sulfide, which must be reduced during the refining process.