Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Oil production from a field tapped from artificial islands off the Emirati coast could jump to 1 million barrels per day by 2024, partners said Tuesday.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. announced with its operating partners, the regional subsidiary of Exxon Mobil and Japan's INPEX Corp., plans to increase the design capacity from the Upper Zakum oil field offshore to 1 million bpd by 2024. Previous plans called for an increase from 500,000 bpd to 750,000 bpd in the next few years.
Discovered in 1963, production is supported by infrastructure on a network of artificial islands over what's the fourth largest oil field in the world. The companies said the enhanced capacity would come from new extended-reach drilling and new modeling techniques.
"This agreement represents a new milestone for Abu Dhabi's oil production and demonstrates ExxonMobil's long-term commitment and partnership with the United Arab Emirates," Exxon CEO Darren Woods said in a statement.
The United Arab Emirates is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, pumping about 2.9 million bpd in October. Output is in line with its commitments to the OPEC-led effort to balance the market with coordinated production cuts and down about 2.2 percent from the 2016 average. The country's energy minister said there's support for extending the production cut agreement, but a decision won't be made until later this month.
In August, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., known by its acronym, ADNOC, said it was in "advanced discussions" with more than a dozen partners expressing interest in offshore areas. Bringing those partners to the offshore sector could support a broader effort to boost production to 3.5 million bpd, the company said.
Austrian energy company OMV signed agreements last year with ADNOC and Occidental Petroleum, based in the United States, to conduct surveys for several undeveloped oil and gas fields off the coast of Abu Dhabi.
Apart from production, the United Arab Emirates is strategically significant because its Fujairah port is the only export facility in the country that exists fully outside the Strait of Hormuz, the shipping chokepoint at the entrance of the Arabian Gulf.