The United Arab Emirates has announced a huge gas discovery that is likely to hold up to 80 trillion cubic feet of estimated reserves, the nation’s Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum has said.

Maktoum said in a Twitter post on Monday that state player Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and Dubai Supply Authority (Dusup) have “signed an agreement to develop one of the largest gas fields discovered between the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with reserves of 80 Tcf (Jebel Ali Project).”

Adnoc also confirmed the development and claimed in a social media post that the agreement was inked in the presence of Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.

“Adnoc and Dusup signed a strategic co-operation agreement to continue to explore for and develop the shallow gas resources after the discovery of 80 Tcf of shallow gas in the area between the Abu Dhabi and Dubai," Adnoc said.

About 10 exploration were drilled by Adnoc in its first ever exploration campaign in Dubai in more than 5000 square kilometres of area between Saih Al Sidirah and Jebel Ali, according to the Dubai Media Office.

Ahmed bin Saeed, Dusup’s director general, told local media that Dubai will be closely working with Adnoc to explore and develop the gas discovery.

“We look forward to working closely with Adnoc to further explore gas resources in the area between Abu Dhabi and Dubai as part of diversifying our energy resources," he said.

"This collaboration will contribute to raising our long-term energy security, which is crucial to realising our aspirations in a new economic era of growth to be a leader in shaping the future of the region and the world, as well as enhancing the happiness and welfare of our people," Bin Saeed added.

Energy analysis company Wood Mackenzie said on Monday that the find is "hugely significant" for UAE.

Liam Yates, an analyst on WoodMac’s Middle East upstream team, said: “The find ranks as the largest global gas discovery since Galkynysh (South Iolotan). The Turkmen field was discovered in 2005.

“The shallow nature of the find will mean that development costs will be much lower than some of Abu Dhabi’s sour gas resources.”

Yates added: “A discovery of this scale will be a clear priority for development, but the timing will be dependent on where it fits into the UAE’s gas market. Large volumes of gas are associated with oil production, which is on the rise.

“In addition, Adnoc is pushing ahead with other major gas developments, such as the Hail and Ghasha project. The UAE will also need to honour its gas import commitments from the Dolphin Project.

“But longer term, the field is likely to play a pivotal role in the UAE’s gas market and could lead to additional gas exports from the country.”

In November last year, Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) said the UAE has scaled up its hydrocarbon reserves and ranked as the sixth largest holder of both oil and natural gas reserves in the world thanks to new discoveries.

SPC claimed that UAE has 105 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 273 Tcf of conventional gas reserves.

"The SPC announces increase in hydrocarbon reserves of 7 billion stock tank barrels (STB) of oil and 58 Tcf of conventional gas, and the discovery of 160 Tcf of unconventional gas," it said last year.

"These achievements underscore Adnoc’s drive to ensure we remain a trusted, reliable and responsible supplier of energy to the world for decades to come," it added.

Adnoc is carrying out the development of some of its key sour gas fields including the giant Hail & Ghaha field and is expected to spend more than $20 billion in developing multiple sour gas fields, its chief executive Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber earlier said.

The offshore sour gas fields in Abu Dhabi are estimated to hold many Tcf of recoverable gas, which are likely to add up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of incremental production over the next five years.

Along with its conventional output, Adnoc aims to reach a production target of 1 Bcfd from its unconventional gas reserves before 2030.

The company signed an agreement with Total in 2018, awarding the French oil major a 40% stake in the Ruwais Diyab unconventional gas concession.

The new Adnoc gas strategy aims to achieve gas self-sufficiency and transition the UAE to a net gas exporter during the next decade.