Zakum Development Company
The Zakum Development Company (ZADCO) was established in the Abu Dhabi Emirate, as part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in November 1977 to develop and operate the Upper Zakum (UZ) field.
At that time ZADCO was a joint venture between:
The Upper Zakum field is different from Zakum field, developed and operated by the sister company, Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO).
Located 80 kilometers northwest of Abu Dhabi, Upper Zakum is the second largest crude oil field in the Gulf and the fourth largest in the world.
Because of its size and complexity the development of Upper Zakum was calling for massive capital expenditure over at least 25 years.
For these reasons, when ADNOC decided to proceed with the first phase of development of Upper Zakum in 1977, some of the partners in joint venture in ADMA-OPCO, such as ADNOC and JODCO expressed their intention to be part of it while BP and Total preferred to stand where they were in term of engagement in the UAE.
So ZADCO started operations with only ADNOC and JODCO shareholders but the changes in the partners to develop the offshore oil and gas fields requested ADNOC to create the new ZADCO joint venture to host the new partners.
ExxonMobil won the bidding process to take shares in Upper Zakum, so that the working interests in the joint venture are currently:
– ADNOC 60% is the operator
– ExxonMobil 28%
– JODCO 12%
Since then, ZADCO initiated to explore and develop the Umm al-Dalkh and Satah fields.
ZADCO figures are reported in ADNOC.
2011 production in Upper Zakum 500,000 b/d
ZADCO Projects and Business Highlights
In joining the ZADCO joint venture, ExxonMobil changed the development strategy.
As Upper Zakum is located half way between Abu Dhabi coast and Zirku Island where ADMA-OPCO has historically centralized all the oil and gas processing facilities, the development of the field was designed with approximately 100 steel platforms for drilling and production.
The expansion of Upper Zakum was also based on the same design.
But after assessing the costs of these steel frame platform over the long period of production and the environmental impact during operations and later for decommissioning, ExxonMobil introduced the concept of artificial islands.
In addition to the direct saving costs, the artifical islands provide Upper Zakum development with more flexibility to pre-process the oil and gas before exporting to the Zirku Island.
Now ZADCO is working on a 50% expansion of the Upper Zakum oil field to increase production from the actual 500,000 b/d to 750,000 b/d.
Because of the targeted volume of production, this project have been named Upper Zakum 750 or UZ750.
Requiring the construction of four artificial islands already in progress, ZADCO awarded the first engineering, procurement and construction (EPC-1) contract for the UZ 750 project to the french engineering company Technip in consortium with the local NPCC.
In parallel ZADCO is going to award the front engineering and design (FEED) contract for the Zirku Island expansion project where the oil and gas produced from Upper Zakum should be processed before export.