Adnoc sets world record for longest oil and gas well at Upper Zakum field

State oil company is looking to boost output from the large offshore site

Adnoc Drilling rig at Upper Zakum. The offshore oilfield is key to Adnoc's plans to boost crude production. Photo: Adnoc
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Adnoc has set a record for the “longest oil and gas well” at its Upper Zakum oilfield, the world's second-largest offshore field that is key to the state-owned producer’s goal of boosting its crude production to 5 million barrels per day by 2030.

The well, which is 15,240 metres (50,000 feet) long, “supports Adnoc’s efforts to expand production capacity of its lower carbon hydrocarbon resources to help meet the world’s growing demand for energy”, the company said on Thursday.

The record was previously held by Russia's biggest oil exporter Rosneft, which drilled a 15,000-metre long oil and gas well at an offshore project in the Sea of Okhotsk in 2017.

Adnoc Drilling, a unit of the state oil company, drilled the well on Umm Al Anbar, one of Adnoc Offshore’s artificial islands.

Adnoc Drilling is the largest national drilling company in the Middle East by rig fleet size, owning 105 rigs as of July 31 and expecting two new rigs to commence operations by the end of 2022.

The company was listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange last October and has rapidly expanded operations in recent months.

The latest development is part of an extended reach well project designed by Adnoc Offshore, in collaboration with its Upper Zakum strategic international partners, which includes US oil business Exxon Mobil.

The extended reach wells will tap into an undeveloped part of the giant Upper Zakum reservoir, with the potential to increase the field’s production capacity by 15,000 bpd, without the need to expand or build any new infrastructure, Adnoc said.

“The delivery of this record-breaking well also demonstrates our commitment to lower operational costs, while enabling Adnoc to reach its oil and gas production capacity targets,” said Adnoc Drilling chief executive Abdulrahman Al Seiari.

The company plans to increase the field capacity of Upper Zakum to 1 million bpd by 2024 through a mega-expansion project valued at Dh110 billion ($30b).

“This historic milestone is a credit to the hard work and dedication of our staff who have collectively demonstrated how, as a responsible operator, we are successfully maximising the use of advanced extended reach, horizontal and directional drilling methods,” Mr Al Seiari said.

Adnoc Offshore perfected the artificial island concept, resulting in significant cost savings and environmental benefits, compared with conventional approaches that traditionally require more offshore installations and infrastructure.

“Adnoc’s pioneering and innovative use of artificial islands, coupled with its world-leading drilling expertise, is enabling us to drive growth, maximise value and minimise the environmental footprint of our operations,” said Adnoc Offshore chief executive Ahmad Al Suwaidi.

Updated: October 20, 2022, 10:15 AM