x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Dubai discovers new oilfield

The emirate discovers a new oilfield off its coast, and expects to pump the first crude from it by early next year.

Dubai has discovered a new oilfield off its coast, and expects to pump the first crude from it by early next year. The oil strike, which the government announced today, is the first hydrocarbon discovery in the emirate's territory in 30 years. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, "heralds the good news to the people of the United Arab Emirates that a new offshore oilfield has been discovered in Dubai", the government said, without providing details of the field's potential size.

The Ruler's office said the new field was east of the Rashid oilfield, a small offshore deposit that Dubai discovered in 1973. "I can confirm that oil has been discovered and expect production to start within a year," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai's Department of Oil Affairs and its Supreme Council for Energy, told Dow Jones. Unlike Abu Dhabi, which holds more than 94 per cent of the UAE's 97.8 billion barrels of crude oil reserves and is a major exporter, Dubai is a net oil importer. The emirate's oil production, consisting of crude from a cluster of four small Gulf fields discovered in the 1960s and 1970s and "condensate" from the Marghan gasfield, peaked at 410,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 1991 and had dropped to 80,000 bpd by 2007. In that year, the US government estimated Dubai's oil reserves at 4 billion barrels.

The Marghan field, found in 1986, is Dubai's only commercial onshore hydrocarbon reservoir. The government announced no further details of the new oilfield. In light of the modest size of Dubai's previous offshore discoveries, however, it was not expected to be particularly large, said Robin Mills, a petroleum economist with the Dubai government-owned Emirates National Oil Company. tcarlisle@thenational.ae