UAE Has World's 4th Largest Oilfield


"Upper Zakum is home to a staggering 50B barrels of proven crude."

The UAE is pushing ahead with the development of the world's fourth largest oilfield to expand its output by nearly 40% to 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) and maintain its position as one of the top global hydrocarbon exporters.

U.S. giant Exxon Mobil is developing the offshore Upper Zakum, home to a staggering 50 billion barrels of proven crude, making it the fourth largest oilfield on earth, according to a senior company executive.

"Beneath the glistening waters off the coast of Abu Dhabi lies one of the world's largest oilfields. . .some 50 miles northeast of the emirate's capital, an estimated 50 billion barrels of oil sit below the sea," said Morten Mauritzen, ExxonMobil's lead country manager in Abu Dhabi.

"Ranked as the fourth largest on earth, the Upper Zakum field is made up of layer upon layer of complex reservoirs…on the water's surface, a handful of manmade island are taking shape," he said in a report obtained by Emirates 24/7 at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition, which concluded on Thursday.

Mauritzen said the artificial islands would replace more than 100 conventional steel drilling towers around the super oilfield. He said multiple wells would be drilled, an "innovation" that ExxonMobil hopes will save billions of dollars during the six-year development as well as benefit the environment.

"We looked at the local expertise in constructing islands, said Mauritzen, a Norwegian. "And we thought we are onto something here."

ExxonMobil was awarded a 28% stake in Upper Zakum by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company two years ago under an agreement allowing the US firm to develop the complex field and raise its output by 40%.

Once completed, the project will lift the field's capacity to around 750,000 bpd in 2015 and enable it to pump at maximum production for 24 years.

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