Adnoc sees project spending uptick

25 April 2024

The latest news from the UAE's upstream sector includes:

Contractor orders compressors for Adnoc project
Adnoc Offshore awards Upper Zakum contract
Contractors prepare bids for Lower Zakum oil project
Adnoc Onshore awards contracts for well tie-ins packages
Adnoc Onshore evaluates prices for fields upgrade
Kent wins framework agreement with BP
Dubai-based company wins Egypt oil contract extension


Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) spent close to $22bn last year on upstream projects, making it one of the best years on record for oil and gas project capital expenditure (capex) in the UAE, if not the top.

Adnoc and its partners in the Ghasha concession dominated spending in 2023, awarding contracts worth $16.94bn in early October for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) works on the Hail and Ghasha sour gas production project.

The investment represents the largest-ever capex on a single oil and gas project in the UAE. It marks a giant leap for the country in its goal to become self-sufficient in natural gas production. As such, the project investment is also having a galvanising, trickle-down effect on the UAE oil and gas supply chain.

The Hail and Ghasha fields are part of Abu Dhabi’s Ghasha concession, which is expected to produce more than 1.5 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d) of gas before the end of this decade.

Adnoc holds the majority 55% stake in the Ghasha concession. The other stakeholders are Italian energy major Eni with 25%, Germany’s Wintershall Dea with 10%, and Austria’s OMV and Russia’s Lukoil, each with 5%.

A consortium of Abu Dhabi’s NMDC Energy and Italian contractor Saipem was awarded the project’s offshore EPC package. Its value is $8.2bn, with Saipem declaring its share to be worth $4.1bn. 

The scope of work broadly involves the EPC of offshore facilities, including facilities on artificial islands and subsea pipelines.

Italy-headquartered Tecnimont was awarded the onshore EPC contract. The $8.74bn contract relates to the EPC of onshore facilities, including carbon dioxide (CO2) and sulphur recovery and handling.

Robust spending

Adnoc is expected to maintain robust spending on upstream projects this year, if not match the 2023 level, as it strives to achieve its oil and gas production targets. The Abu Dhabi energy giant aims to attain an oil production capacity of 5 million barrels a day (b/d) by 2027 and become self-sufficient in gas production by the end of this decade.

Adnoc is understood to have already spent more than $2.3bn so far this year on projects deemed vital to reaching its crude production goal.

Adnoc Group subsidiary Adnoc Offshore awarded the main EPC contract in mid-March for a project to increase the oil production potential of Abu Dhabi’s largest producing oil asset – the Upper Zakum offshore field – to 1.2 million b/d.

UAE-based Target Engineering Construction Company won the contract for the project, which is estimated to be worth $825m. 

The main scope of work on the project involves the EPC of several surface facilities and plants at the Upper Zakum offshore development’s four main artificial islands of Al-Ghallan, Umm Al Anbar, Ettouk and Asseifiya – also known as Central Island, West Island, North Island and South Island, respectively.

Also in 2024, another Adnoc Group subsidiary, Adnoc Onshore, has awarded main contracts totalling more than $1.5bn for two packages on a project involving the conversion of wells and the installation of associated tie-ins at the southeast cluster of oil fields in Abu Dhabi.

Package 3 covers the EPC of well tie-ins and other associated structures at the Asab and Sahil oil fields, while package 4 relates to the Shah, Qusahwira and Mender fields.

Adnoc Onshore split the scope of work on packages 3 and 4 and appointed two contractors for each package.

Pakistan-headquartered Descon Engineering and Galfar Engineering & Construction Emirates, the UAE division of Omani contractor Galfar Engineering & Contracting, have won contracts for package 3, according to sources.

Galfar Engineering & Construction Emirates has also won a contract for package 4, while Abu Dhabi-based Al Nasr Contracting Company has secured the other contract, sources said. The combined values of the EPC contracts awarded by Adnoc Onshore for packages 3 and 4 are estimated to be $790m and $760m, respectively.

Upcoming tenders

Looking ahead, Adnoc Offshore is also preparing to issue the main EPC tender for a second phase of the project to increase the oil production capacity of the Upper Zakum field development.

Separately, contractors are preparing bids for a major project to boost oil production at the Lower Zakum offshore hydrocarbons concession in Abu Dhabi.

The Lower Zakum hydrocarbons zone is 65 kilometres northwest of Abu Dhabi in the Gulf’s waters. Adnoc Offshore holds the majority 60% stake in the Lower Zakum asset. Foreign partners include an Indian consortium of companies led by ONGC Videsh (10%), Japan’s Inpex Corporation (10%), China National Petroleum Corporation (10%), Italy’s Eni (5%) and France’s TotalEnergies (5%).

Adnoc and its partners in the Ghasha concession dominated spending in 2023, awarding contracts worth $16.94bn in early October for EPC works on the Hail and Ghasha sour gas production project

Adnoc Offshore’s larger, longer-term objective is to raise the asset’s output capacity to 520,000 b/d by 2027 and maintain that level until 2034. This strategic goal will be accomplished through the Lower Zakum Long-Term Development Plan (LTDP-1) project.

Adnoc Offshore issued the main EPC tender for the multibillion-dollar Lower Zakum LTDP-1 project in March. Contractors invited to bid have until the end of July to submit technical bids for the project, while commercial bids are due in September.

Adnoc Offshore intends to award EPC contracts for the Lower Zakum LTDP-1 project by the end of the year.

MEED's April 2024 special report on the UAE includes:

> COMMENT: Non-oil activity underpins UAE economy
> GVT & ECONOMY: Non-oil activity underpins UAE economy

> BANKING: UAE banks seize the moment
> DOWNSTREAM: UAE builds its downstream and chemicals potential
> POWER: UAE marks successful power project deliveries
> WATER: Dubai tunnels project dominates UAE pipeline
> DUBAI CONSTRUCTION: Dubai real estate boosts construction sector

> ABU DHABI CONSTRUCTION: Abu Dhabi makes major construction investments
Indrajit Sen
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