Onshore/Offshore Facilities

ADNOC and TAQA Team Up in $3.6-Billion Project To Power and Decarbonize Offshore Operations

The plan includes the development and operation of a first-of-its-kind high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC-VSC) subsea transmission system in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Upper Zakum Artificial Island.jpg
The Upper Zakum oil field is the largest producing field in ADNOC’s portfolio. The company plans to increase the field capacity of the field to 1 million B/D by 2024 through a mega-expansion project.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA) announced a $3.6-billion project to decarbonize ADNOC’s offshore production operations, furthering sustainability efforts and supporting the UAE’s “Net-Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative.”

The plan includes the development and operation of a first-of-its-kind high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC-VSC) subsea transmission system in the Middle East and North Africa region, ADNOC said in a press release. It will power ADNOC’s offshore production operations with cleaner and more efficient energy, delivered through the Abu Dhabi onshore power grid, owned and operated by TAQA’s transmission and distribution companies.

Voltage source converters, or VSC, are described in a 2015 paper, “Latest Trends in Power Supply for Offshore Oil and Gas Industry,” written by ADNOC coauthors Santhanamuthu, Awda, and Shabaka (OTC 25876). “The main advantage of favoring HVDC over HVAC is that there is no reactive component in a DC transmission system. Power cable will carry only load current. This provides a huge advantage for transmission of large power over long distances. Today’s HVDC technology is based on two types of converters—line-commutated converter (LCC) or voltage source converter (VSC).” VSC technology is selected for its benefits in black-start capability and its separate active and reactive power control.

The project will be funded through a special-purpose vehicle—a dedicated company that will be jointly owned by ADNOC and TAQA (30% stake each) and a consortium comprising Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO), Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power Co., and Électricité de France (EDF). Led by KEPCO, the consortium will hold a combined 40% stake in the project on a build, own, operate, and transfer basis.

The consortium, whose members were selected following a tender issued in April 2020, will develop and operate the transmission system alongside ADNOC and TAQA, with the full project being returned to ADNOC after 35 years of operation. The project is subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

The development is expected to reduce the carbon footprint of ADNOC’s offshore operations by more than 30%, replacing existing offshore gas turbine generators with more sustainable power sources available on the Abu Dhabi onshore power network. This approach will also drive operational efficiencies and improve system reliability of energy supply, while offering the potential for power supply cost optimization.

More than 50% of the project value will flow back into the UAE’s economy under ADNOC’s In-Country Value program.

The transmission system will have a total installed capacity of 3.2 GW and comprise two independent subsea HVDC links and converter stations that will connect to TAQA’s onshore electricity grid—operated by its subsidiary, Abu Dhabi Transmission and Despatch Company (TRANSCO). Construction is expected to begin in 2022 with commercial operation beginning in 2025.

The project also offers the potential for ADNOC to utilize its rich gas more effectively—currently used to power the offshore facilities—for higher-value purposes to generate additional revenue.

This project follows the recently announced global clean energy venture between TAQA, ADNOC, and Mubadala, targeting a total generating capacity of at least 50 GW of renewable energy by 2030, and the clean energy partnership with the Emirates Water and Electric Company (EWEC), which will see up to 100% of ADNOC’s onshore and more than 90% of ADNOC’s offshore production operations supplied by EWEC’s nuclear and solar energy sources.


OTC 25876 Latest Trends in Power Supply for Offshore Oil and Gas Industry by T. Santhanamuthu, H. Awda, and A.E. Shabaka, Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company.

SPE 193300 Electrification of Oil and Gas Offshore Installations with HVDC Submarine Cables by M. Toulotte, L. Lervik, and F. Renaudin, Nexans Norway AS.

Subsea Electrification: Is the Tide About To Turn? by Judy Feder, JPT.

Revisiting Oilfield Electrification With Ideas Picked Up at 2020 ATCE by Bob Pearson, SPE Technical Director for Facilities and Production, Oil and Gas Facilities.