- The ADNOC-led consortia continue to keep the UAE near the top of the list of the world's largest crude oil producers, ranking eighth in 2012 at 2.8 million barrels per day (bbl/d), just behind Iraq. Based on recent reports, the goal to boost UAE's crude oil production to 3 million bbl/d by the end of 2013 does not seem attainable, and the country appears poised to push back its longer-term 3.5 million bbl/d target until 2019 or 2020. With limited prospects for major discoveries, production increases in the UAE will come almost exclusively from the use of EOR techniques in Abu Dhabi's existing oil fields.
- One region that may help the UAE boost production is the Zakum petroleum system, which IHS reports may contain over 65 billion barrels of recoverable oil. ZADCO—owned by ADNOC (60% share), ExxonMobil (28%), and the Japan Oil Development Company (JODCO; 12%)—manages production from UAE's Upper Zakum Oil Field, which currently produces about 550,000 bbl/d. In July 2012, ZADCO awarded an $800-million engineering, procurement, and construction contract to Abu Dhabi's National Petroleum Construction Company—along with French firm Technip—with the goal of expanding production to 750,000 bbl/d by 2016. Production from the Lower Zakum field—operated by the Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO)—should also increase, with production eventually reaching 425,000 bbl/d, increasing from the 300,000 bbl/d it currently produces.
- ADCO—which oversees onshore operations in the Emirate—plans to increase production in the Bu Hasa Oil Field, Bab, and SAS fields over the coming years, with increases expected to approach 200,000 bbl/d as soon as 2014.
- Smaller offshore fields like the Nasr, Umm Lulu, and Umm Shaif are also the targets of increased investments. ADMA-OPCO is seeking to boost production levels at the Umm Shaif field to 280,000 bbl/d and is attempting to bring the combined production of the Nasr and Umm Lulu fields up to 170,000 bbl/d as soon as 2018. In June 2013, ADMA-OPCO awarded a contract for full field development at the Umm Lulu field.
- ADMA-OPCO also hopes to significantly increase recovery rates at its fields, where the average rate is currently around 35%, according to industry sources. Exploration and production in the other Emirates is limited, with reserves nearly exhausted and the cost of recovery continuing to climb.
Major Oil Fields
- The production figures are for 2012
- Bu Hasa Oil Field - 550,000
- Sahil, Asab, and Shah (SAS) - 430,000
- Murban Bab - 360,000
- Bida al-Qemzan - 225,000
- Upper Zakum Oil Field - 500,000
- Lower Zakum - 300,000
- Umm Shaif Oil Field - 230,000
- Al-Dabbiya, Rumaitha, and Shanayel - 100,000
- Satah Oil Field - 20,000
- Dry natural gas production in the UAE rose to nearly 1.9 Tcf in 2012, continuing the upward trend that began in the 1980s. Dry production grew steadily by an annual average rate of 1.6% between 2003 and 2012. The UAE's dry natural gas production ranks the country in the top-20 globally for 2012, based on EIA estimates. Despite the challenges of producing natural gas domestically, the UAE hopes to further boost production to help meet the country's growing demand, which increased at an annual average rate of nearly 5.3% between 2003 and 2012.
- Several recent and ongoing projects—the Onshore Gas Development (OGD), Integrated Gas Development (IGD), and Offshore Associated Gas (OAG) projects—may increase production of the country's reserves, and could help meet the rapidly growing demand for natural gas in the country. OGD phases one and two expanded associated gas production at the Asab and Sahil fields to help increase reservoir pressure in the oil fields, with the Asab field dry production reaching 800 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d), and 6.4 MMcf/d of natural gas liquids (NGL).
- Phase three of the project—completed in 2008—brought production of the Bab field gas to 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). Abu Dhabi reportedly plans to boost production from the Bab field to more than 2 Bcf/d by 2015 and to nearly 2.5 Bcf/d by 2018. In April 2013, ADNOC selected Shell to develop Bab's natural gas resources under a 30-year joint venture agreement. The Bab field is an important part of the UAE's carbon dioxide (CO2) EOR plans. ADCO aims to receive 800,000 tons of CO2 per year from a nearby steel plant for reinjection to aid in oil recovery.
- The IGD project—led by GASCO, ADGAS, and ADNOC, in collaboration with Shell, Total, and Partex—is developing the new Habshan-5 facility that will process associated gas from the Umm Shaif field and sour gas from nearby fields. Habshan-5 could process 1 Bcf/d of onshore gas and sour-gas from nearby fields in addition to 1 Bcf/d of offshore gas from Umm Shaif. The Habshan facility will eventually have five gas processing trains and a capacity of 7 Bcf/d, and the ability to process nearly 125,000 bbl/d of natural gas liquids (NGLs). The $10 billion IGD project includes plans for a 1 Bcf/d pipeline to bring non-associated gas from Khuff reservoirs beneath Umm Shaif and Abu al-Bukhoosh oil fields to the Habshan Gas Processing Plant. Habshan's units 1-4 can currently provide approximately 2.4 Bcf/d of natural gas for reinjection and 1.3 Bcf/d of marketable natural gas. The Habshan-5 facility should be operational by the end of 2013.
- Another major project in the UAE's natural gas sector is the Offshore Associated Gas(OAG) project, which began in 2010 as part of the larger IGD project. Two new gas processing plants on Das Island—with a combined capacity of 200 MMcf/d of associated gas—and a 30-inch subsea pipeline will provide additional volumes to the Habshan facilities for processing, and eventual consumption, in the Emirates.
- Despite the technical challenges of processing UAE's natural gas, ADNOC is pursuing a large-scale sour-gas development at the Shah field. One of the difficulties of the project is that production of the ultra-sour gas yields relatively small quantities of marketable gas; in this case, just 540 cubic feet per 1,000 cubic feet produced, even after extensive treatment. ADNOC brought Occidental Petroleum on board, and in early 2013 the Al-Hosn joint venture announced that the Shah sour gas development should be operational in 2014. The Al-Hosn joint venture partners are ADNOC (60%) and Occidental (40%). The Shah gas field production is expected to be 540 MMcf/d of dry natural gas (from 1 Bcf of gross production) and 50,000 bbl/d of NGL at full capacity in 2015.
- The project to develop the ultra-sour gas of the Shah Gas Field initially went to tender with the Bab field, but after a tepid response from potential partners, the two fields went to tender separately. ADNOC still plans to develop the sour gas of the Bab field, but not until 2015, so that experiences from the Shah development can be applied to the project at Bab. Royal Dutch Shell will develop the sour gas from the Bab field.
- Beyond the Shah development, ADNOC is working with U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum on new developments at the Jarn Yaphour and Ramhan fields. That concession was the first in Abu Dhabi in nearly 50 years and could produce more than 100 Mcf of natural gas per day. Exploration in the emirates of Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, and Umm al-Qawain is ramping up, but there have not been any significant discoveries to date. Production from the Zorah field (between Umm al-Qawain and Ajman) and in Sharjah could reach 300 MMcf/d in the near future, but only limited details on those projects are available. In late 2012, Dana Gas announced it would develop the Western Offshore Concession, which includes the Zorah field.