The Upper Zakum oil field is an east-west plunging anticline, located offshore Abu Dhabi, UAE. The field was discovered in 1963 by seismic survey and came on production in 1967 at an initial rate of 50 000 bopd from the Lower Cretaceous carbonate sediments. The Zakum structure is a broad asymmetric anticlinal feature characterized by gentle dips throughout; the steepest dips occur in the north and northeast where the average dip is about 2.5°. The structure is about 45 km long and 28 km wide, and has a vertical closure in excess of 1200 ft
The second-largest offshore oil field in the world is operated by the Zakum Development Company (ZADCO) – a joint venture of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) (who hold a 60% interest), ExxonMobil (28% and the Japan Oil Development Company (Jodco) (12%).
The current production capacity is 640,000 barrels of oil per day (BPD). Crude oil from Upper Zakum, Umm Al Dalkh and Satah field is pumped via main oil lines to Zirku Island for further processing, storage and export. Upper Zakum field is estimated to hold around 50 billion barrels of oil equivalent. In 25 years of operation, only 10% of its total capacity is thought to have been processed through 173 wells. Zadco is now looking to increase production from the field from 500,000 b/d to around 750,000 b/d using four artificial islands as platforms for drilling, processing and distribution. Three phases were planned, with the first covering construction of early production facilities, the second building permanent production facilities to boost production by a further 150,000 b/d and the third covering a series of smaller projects intended to sustain production at the targeted 750,000 b/d.
Zirku Island has located about 137 km from Abu Dhabi, 55 km from Upper Zakum Field. Zirku Terminal has two SPM (single point mooring) berths and can accommodate export tankers up to 420 KDWT. The nominal offloading rate is 83 KB/hr and Zirku Terminal can accommodate VLCC first or second port. Zirku Terminal has six storage tanks of approximately 6 MB in capacity.
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