Abu Dhabi: The UAE announced on Monday the discovery of huge gas reserves, saying the find would help the country achieve self-sufficiency.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc) said about 80 trillion standard cubic feet of shallow gas resources were discovered between the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
“This new discovery reinforces the nation’s goal of achieving gas self-sufficiency, enabling major development projects,” it said in a statement.
Leaders of Abu Dhabi and Dubai witnessed the signing of an agreement between Adnoc and Dubai Supply Authority for the exploration and development of the gas resources.
In November, Abu Dhabi announced new discoveries of seven billion barrels of oil to raise the UAE’s total crude reserves to 105 billion barrels, the world’s sixth largest.
It also announced the discovery of 58 trillion cubic feet of conventional gas, boosting total reserves to 273 trillion cubic feet as well as 160 trillion cubic feet of unconventional gas.
Most of these reserves are located in Abu Dhabi.
Monday’s statements gave no details on the time frame for the new gas resources to become on-stream or the estimated cost of the projects.
Shallow gas resources are reserves found trapped not too deep from the surface but they need advanced technology for production.
The produced gas will be supplied to Dubai which currently imports most of its gas needs from neighbouring Qatar which is under embargo by an Arab coalition that includes the UAE.
The agreement “reinforces Adnoc’s commitment to ensuring a sustainable and economic gas supply and achieving gas self-sufficiency”, said Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and CEO of Adnoc.
Throughout 2018, Adnoc granted concession rights in existing and new oilfields to several international companies, and earmarked some $132 billion to invest in the oil sector over the next five years.
Adnoc plans to boost gas production for UAE to become a net exporter and also to raise crude output capacity to four million bpd in 2020 and to five million bpd a decade later.
The UAE a major global oil exporter, is now looking to gas and other sources of energy to diversify and guarantee security of supply. The burgeoning Middle Eastern business and tourism hub is building nuclear, solar and coal-fired power plants, while Adnoc has invited international companies to help tap previously inaccessible gas deposits.
While the UAE is among the world’s 10 biggest holders of gas reserves, the Jebel Ali project marks the first time Adnoc has explored for the fuel in Dubai. The company drilled more than 10 wells to make its discovery, and will use both standard and unconventional drilling techniques to pump the fuel, it said.
This would be the second big alliance featuring Dubai and Abu Dhabi companies — in early 2018, the formation of such a partnership between Emaar and Aldar Properties was announced. The plan, announced at the time, was to create Dh30 billion worth of joint investment projects.
Sharjah’s gas find
Interestingly, it was just last week that the Sharjah National Oil Corporation announced the discovery of an in-land gasfield. The natural gas and condensate field has “flow rates of up to 50 million standard cubic feet per day, along with the liquids associated with it,” Sharjah had announced at the time.