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02 December 2023

New shallow gas reserves discovered in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Photo: Media Office


The United Arab Emirates announced today the discovery of 80 trillion standard cubic feet, TSCF, of shallow gas resources in place within the area between Saih Al Sidirah and Jebel Ali in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively. This new discovery reinforces the nation’s goal of achieving gas self-sufficiency, enabling major development projects in preparation for the next fifty years of the union.

The announcement was made during the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement between the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, and Dubai Supply Authority, DUSUP, to continue to explore and develop the shallow gas resources in this area in a joint project named ‘Jebel Ali’.

This signing of the agreement was witnessed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The agreement was signed by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Director-General of DUSUP, and Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO.

Following the signing of the agreement, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed were given a presentation where details of the project were outlined, including the nature of the shallow gas reservoir, the project development plan and the innovative technologies ADNOC’s is leveraging to unlock the UAE’s vast hydrocarbon resources.

Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed said, "The agreement is an important step forward in further enhancing cooperation and tapping synergies to maximise the UAE’s resources, as part of our leadership’s vision for the next 50-year phase of development. This partnership enables our organisations to combine each other’s capabilities to capture the greatest possible benefits from the UAE’s hydrocarbon assets.

"We look forward to working closely with ADNOC to further explore gas resources in the area between Abu Dhabi and Dubai as part of diversifying our energy resources. This collaboration will contribute to raising our long-term energy security, which is crucial to realising our aspirations in a new economic era of growth to be a leader in shaping the future of the region and the world, as well as enhancing the happiness and welfare of our people."

The discovery of the 80 TSCF of shallow gas resources was made within an area of 5,000 square kilometers between the two emirates with ADNOC drilling more than ten exploration and appraisal wells, signifying the first time ADNOC has explored for hydrocarbon resources in Dubai.

Dr. Al Jaber said, "The discovery of shallow gas resources between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is a result of ADNOC’s drive to implement the leadership’s wise directives to efficiently accelerate the exploration and development of the UAE’s vast untapped hydrocarbon resources and maximise its value for the benefit of the nation. It reinforces ADNOC’s commitment to ensuring a sustainable and economic gas supply and achieving gas self-sufficiency.

"The strategic cooperation agreement between ADNOC and DUSUP is a natural evolution of our shared commitment to harness energy resources in the service of the UAE. We look forward to swiftly progressing the ongoing work and further exploring, appraising and developing the area by leveraging ADNOC’s best-in-class expertise and innovative technologies to ensure the success of the project. We see significant potential in this joint project to create long-term and enduring value for the nation."

As part of today’s agreement, in collaboration with DUSUP, ADNOC will deploy capital, technology, and expertise to develop and produce shallow gas resources and conduct further exploration to assess further volumes and firm up development costs.

The gas produced will be supplied to DUSUP, to support Dubai’s economic growth ambitions and enhance its energy security as it reinforces its position as a pivotal hub of the global economy.

The discovered reservoir is unique and is referred to as ‘shallow gas’, as it contains high-quality organic gas at relatively shallow depths from the earth’s surface. ADNOC is utilising both conventional and unconventional drilling and completion technologies and methods to access this trapped gas, including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to enable optimal productivity while reducing the number of drilling rigs required.

As part of ADNOC’s 2030 strategy, the company also plans to tap gas from its gas caps and substantial unconventional gas reserves, as well as new natural gas accumulations, which will continue to be appraised and developed as the company pursues its exploration activities.

Today’s announcement comes less than three months after Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council, SPC, announced increases in hydrocarbon recoverable reserves of 7 billion stock tank barrels, STB, of oil and 58 TSCF of conventional gas, moving the UAE from seventh to the sixth position in both global oil and gas reserves rankings with a total of 105 billion STB of recoverable oil, 273 TSCF of conventional gas and 160 TSCF of unconventional gas resources.