By: Dania Saadi – S&P Global Platts – Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.’s (ADNOC) oil discoveries will help boost its production capacity to 5 million b/d by 2030, the country’s energy minister said Nov. 23, a day after the emirate’s Supreme Petroleum Council revealed new finds that will ramp up the output of its flagship Murban crude grade.
The Supreme Petroleum Council, the emirate’s highest energy policy-making body, announced Nov. 22 the discovery of 22 billion stock tank barrels (STB) of recoverable unconventional onshore oil resources that ADNOC said had production potential on par with the most prolific North American shale plays. Additionally, 2 billion STB in recoverable conventional oil reserves was announced, boosting the UAE’s recoverable conventional oil reserves to 107 billion STB, ADNOC said.
The new discoveries will reinforce the UAE’s position as a “reliable” energy source and “a key player in the global oil market,” energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Twitter.
Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich emirate in the seven-member UAE federation, is forging ahead with expanding its hydrocarbons sector in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, by also announcing a plan for ADNOC to spend Dirhams 448 billion ($122 billion) over the next five years.
The council approved the new capital expenditure, which is down from a previously announced investment plan that called for $132 billion from 2019 to 2023.
ADNOC said the investments, along with new conventional and unconventional oil resources, will help boost the production of Murban.
The Intercontinental Exchange and ADNOC plan to launch a Murban futures contract on a new Abu Dhabi-based exchange on March 29, which they hope will transform how Middle East crudes are traded.
The start-up had been delayed from the first half of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The CAPEX and oil output ramp-up plan come at a time when international oil companies are slashing budgets and reducing their oil production to cope with low oil prices and anemic demand due to the pandemic. IOCs are also reining in their future oil and gas production as part of a clean energy push.
Not so for ADNOC, which said its production capacity has already surpassed 4 million b/d after having previously said it would reach that level by year-end, before reaching 5 million b/d by 2030.
For now, a supply accord between OPEC and nine allies has curtailed UAE output to a quota of 2.59 million b/d through the end of the year, and sources have said the country has discussed exiting OPEC in order to support its ambitious expansion plans.