Petroleum reserves

UAE Boasts Significant Unconventional Reserves, Approves ADNOC’s 5-Year Budget of $122 Billion

The UAE produced 4 million B/D this year and is looking to these newly discovered resources to reach 5 million B/D by 2030.


The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) chief energy regulator has announced that the country holds a substantial volume of newly discovered unconventional resources as it approved a 5-year spending plan for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

The Supreme Petroleum Council, which also serves as ADNOC’s board of directors, placed the estimated reserves of unconventional oil within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi at 22 billion bbl, according to a government news release on 22 November. The figure would place the UAE’s tight reservoir potential on par with that of some of the biggest plays in North America.

The government also said that an additional 2 billion bbl of reserves was also recently discovered, raising the UAE’s total conventional reserve estimate to 107 billion bbl. Both the conventional and unconventional estimates were independently verified by Houston-based reserves specialist Ryder Scott.

To develop these resources and meet new production targets, ADNOC was granted a capital expenditure plan equivalent to $122 billion for 2021 to 2025.

This year, the UAE produced over 4 million B/D, making it the third largest producer in OPEC after Saudi Arabia and Iraq. By 2030, ADNOC has a mandate to reach a production capacity of 5 million B/D.

The UAE government said that the unconventional reserves were based on well data and an 25,000-sq- km appraisal program run by ADNOC. Earlier this month, ADNOC announced, along with its French partner Total, the first delivery of unconventional gas resources from the field to downstream facilities in the UAE.

The capital plan will also include funding for new hydrogen-production projects by leveraging existing infrastructure and natural gas resources.

The Supreme Petroleum Council said it is also set to announce the winners of the Abu Dhabi 2019 Block Bid Round. The second-ever lease auction in UAE history included two onshore blocks and three offshore blocks that hold multiple billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, according to a government statement.