United Arab Emirates producer Dragon Oil remains on track to almost double its oil production from international assets to about 300,000 barrels per day by 2026 despite a coronavirus-related setback last year, according to its top executive.

Speaking earlier this week in Dubai, chief executive Ali Rashid Al Jarwan said he expects the company to be capable of realising a long-planned upside at its assets in Turkmenistan, Egypt and Iraq on time.

Introducing Accelerate Hydrogen
We're pleased to announce the launch of Accelerate Hydrogen - the latest newsletter from Recharge and Upstream. Sign up now for an unbiased, clear-sighted view of the latest developments in the fast-growing hydrogen sector every week.

Al Jarwan said the company is currently producing 160,000 bpd of oil, with about 60% of that output flowing from the two offshore developments within the Cheleken contract area in the Turkmenistan’s sector of the Caspian Sea.

“When the [Covid-19] pandemic occurred, Dragon had to cut spending and operating expenditures by 35%, however, [we] managed to pass the period without major layoffs," he said.

“We have been a pioneer in adopting digital solutions and new energy innovation, and therefore we have managed to maintain our financial resilience while forging ahead with our overseas projects."

Dragon has recently renewed its development contract in Turkmenistan for another 10 years until 2035, Al Jarwan said.

Despite two of its legacy fields in the country — Dzheitune and Dzhygalybeg — starting production during the 1970s, the company still expects to be able to maintain them at the plateau output rate of about 100,000 bpd.

However, the next increases are expected to be achieved in Egypt where Dragon bought a 50% stake in Gulf of Suez Petroleum Company (Gupco) that holds several onshore concessions in the Gulf of Suez.

Gupco holds the MCA and LL87 concessions, including the East Shukheir, North October, South Belayim, South Ghara, South Gharib, West Morgan, North Ghara, North East Romadan, East Morgan, and East Tanka concessions.

Dragon will also retain a 100% interest in an offshore tract in Egypt — East Zeit Bay located in the Gulf of Suez.

A further long-term desired upside in production for Dragon is understood to require billions of dollars of new investments for its Al Faihaa field at Block 9 in South Basra in Iraq, and for exploration of new plays in Algeria, Tunisia and Afghanistan.

Dragon was a UK-listed company until September 2015 when it was acquired by the state-run Emirates National Oil Company.

After the takeover, the new strategy was to convert the downstream-focused company into an integrated global oil and gas player.