3.34 PM Wednesday, 21 February 2024
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 05:31 06:45 12:35 15:51 18:20 19:34
21 February 2024

UAE oil capacity to hit 3 million barrels per day

By Nadim Kawach



Mega hydrocarbon projects being carried out by Abu Dhabi will push the UAE’s output capacity above three million barrels per day in few years and maintain its position as one of the top crude producers in the world.

The emirate is pumping more than $8 billion (Dh29.4bn) between 2005 and 2011 into such projects, which targets both its onshore and offshore areas, mainly the super-giant Upper Zakum oilfield and other major fields.

Citing official UAE figures and Western estimates, the Gulf Investment House (GIH) said $1.5bn would be spent on the development of the offshore Upper Zakum to add 200,000 bpd to

its 550,000 bpd capacity by 2009.

Around $1.5bn has also been allocated for the expansion of the giant Umm Shaif offshore field and $2bn for the Nasr Field development by the Abu Dhabi Marine Oil Company (ADMA-OPCO).

The Abu Dhabi Onshore Oil Company (ADCO), one of the largest 10 oil companies in the world, is pumping nearly $1.5b into its Phase 1 Development Programme, which will add nearly 400,000 bpd to its output.

The projects cover four fields in north-eastern Abu Dhabi (Al Dabbiya, Arn Yaphour, Rumaitha and Shanayel) and expanding the capacity of Bu Hasa and Bab field by 180,000 bpd and 100,000 bpd respectively.

A further investment of $1.4bn will be channelled into the development of the onshore Sahil, Asab and Shah fields.

“All these projects will largely boost Abu Dhabi’s production as officials have clearly stated capacity would rise above three million bpd,” the Kuwaiti-based GIH said in a study on the UAE oil sector.

The projects are part of ongoing plans by the Opec member UAE to expand its sustainable crude oil capacity, which official sources estimated at between 2.7 and 2.8 million bpd at the end of 2007.

While such projects will boost capacity to well above three million bpd in four years, there are plans to push ahead with expansions to reach four million bpd in the long term to tap the country’s massive hydrocarbon reserves of nearly 98.7 billion barrels, more than eight per cent of the world’s total proven oil wealth.

Oil sources expect such projects to gain momentum in the near future because of high crude prices and strong global demand.

ExxonMobil, the world’s largest private oil company, is undertaking the development of Upper Zakum under a contract awarded to it by the Supreme Petroleum Council in 2006.

The agreement allowed it to acquire 28 per cent in the Zakum Development Company (Zadco), while the Japan Oil Development Company retained its 12 per cent and Adnoc controlled 60 per cent.

Upper Zakum is the third largest offshore oilfield in the Gulf and one of the biggest in the world.

It is believed to contain in excess of 50 billion barrels of reserves in place, with estimated recoverable resources of around 16 to 20 billion barrels, using extensive water injection.

ExxonMobil’s contract involves increasing its capacity by nearly 200,000 bpd to around 750,000 bpd. Discovered in 1964 by ADMA, the field is 30-km long and 25-km wide and located south-east of Umm Shaif oilfield.

It is one of the most complex fields in the oil industry because of high rock porosity and low pressure. This is why the British Petroleum and Total in ADMA-OPCO joint venture was reported to have refused to invest in the field in the early 1970s.

According to Adnoc sources, Umm Shaif, about 150km north-west of Abu Dhabi city, has 268 oil wells producing 200,000 bpd. Under the $1.6bn contract, Umm Shaif’s long-term sustainable capacity will be 300,000 bpd by 2010.

Lower Zakum is ADMA-OPCO’s largest oilfield found in July 1963 and developed in 1966. Its capacity has been raised from 270,000 bpd in 1991 to 300,000 bpd. Nasr, discovered by ADMA in 1971, is one of the ADMA-OPCO fields awaiting further development. It lies 20km north-east of Umm Al Shaif.

“With the completion of these projects, ADCO’s capacity will rise from 1.2 million to 1.4 million bpd,” said a recent report by Adnoc. The rest will come from ADMA-OPCO and other offshore oilfields.”