Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has announced a sizeable gas discovery in Abu Dhabi’s Offshore Block 2 exploration concession operated by Italy’s Eni.

The state-owned giant said on Thursday that the interim results from the block’s first exploration well indicate between 1.5 trillion and 2 trillion cubic feet of raw gas in place in multiple good quality reservoirs of the Jurassic exploration targets.

Eni said that the drilling operations would continue to reach the deeper exploration targets of the Khuff and Pre-Khuff Formations. After drilling of the XF-002 well is completed in the second quarter this year, the size of the results will be assessed, the operator confirmed. Water depth at this giant gas discovery is 115 feet.

“This discovery marks the first from Abu Dhabi’s offshore exploration concessions, highlighting the continued success of Adnoc’s block bid rounds and its expanded approach to strategic partnerships,” Adnoc noted.

A consortium of operator Eni and 30% partner Thailand’s PTTEP gained the exploration rights for the block in 2019 as part of Adnoc’s first-ever competitive bid round.

The block covers more than 4000 square kilometres and lies north-west of Abu Dhabi.

Tapping Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas resources

“The discovery of material natural gas resources in Offshore Block 2 underscores how the company’s ‘expanded approach to strategic partnerships’ is enabling it to accelerate the exploration and development of Abu Dhabi’s untapped hydrocarbon resources,” Adnoc chief executive Sultan Ahmed al Jaber said.

“We look forward to continuing to work with all our strategic partners to sustainably unlock Abu Dhabi’s hydrocarbon resources and stay ahead of the world’s growing demand for lower-carbon energy.”

Adnoc noted that drilling operations are continuing at the discovery, targeting deeper formations in an effort to “fully unlock the resource volume… and further explore the promising potential” of the block, as well as offshore blocks 1 and 3, which were also awarded to Eni and PTTEP.

Eni has been present in Abu Dhabi since 2018. The company is the operator of three exploration licences and has a participation with Adnoc in three offshore development and production concessions: Lower Zakum, Umm Shaif and Nasr, and Ghasha.

Insights from 3D survey

Adnoc said the new find was enabled by insights from what it described as “the world’s largest combined onshore and offshore three-dimensional mega seismic survey currently under way in Abu Dhabi”.

The company’s upstream executive director Yaser Saeed Almazrouei said the positive interim results at the block follow a recent significant find in Onshore Block 4, “highlighting the continued success of Adnoc’s accelerated exploration and development programme”.

Onshore block 4 discovery

The “significant conventional oil, condensate and gas” find in Onshore Block 4, operated by Japan’s Inpex, was announced in December and holds an estimated potential resource of up to 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Adnoc has carried out two conventional oil and gas bid rounds in Abu Dhabi in recent years, awarding multiple tracts to leading international oil and gas companies.

Abu Dhabi’s acreage has attracted a growing number of oil majors, including Indian and Chinese players, as it expands its international alliances with the aim of gaining competitive terms and securing long-term markets for its oil exports.

Expansion plans

Adnoc produces almost all of the United Arab Emirates’ crude and aims to expand its oil production capacity to 5 million barrels per day by 2030 — up from the existing 4 million bpd — and is spending billions of dollars on multiple development projects.

Abu Dhabi last year announced a significant increase in its oil and gas reserves and outlined plans to invest $127 billion through 2026 as Adnoc embarks on multiple expansion projects in the emirate.

The company last year said that its domestic reserves had increased by an additional 4 billion barrels of oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.