Abu Dhabi is still aiming to increase its crude production capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day (b/d) by 2017, says the UAE energy minister, despite delays to some of its key field development projects.

Energy Minister Suhail Mohammed al-Mazrouei, speaking at the Oil & Gas Year awards in Abu Dhabi on 1 October, said the emirate must expand its enhanced oil recovery (EOR) programme to boost production from maturing fields.

“For our target for 2017 – increasing the production capacity of the UAE to 3.5 million b/d – Abu Dhabi must look to innovative production technologies,” said Al-Mazrouei, who was appointed on 12 March this year.

“At the North East Bab onshore oil fields, we are looking to expand production through the injection of carbon dioxide [CO2], and more EOR projects are currently being discussed,” he added. “Over the long term, EOR could double recovery rates [from existing fields].”

Media reports in July claimed the UAE had pushed back its target to hit the 3.5 million b/d capacity to 2020 due to delays in awarding offshore construction work.

However, both Al-Mazrouei and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) Director-General Abdulla Nasser al-Suwaidi both reiterated the original target as they spoke at the event.

Al-Suwaidi detailed some of the EOR projects Abu Dhabi has undertaken to help meet its oil production target, including pilot schemes on the Rumaitha field, part of the emirate’s North East Bab asset.

“As fields mature, they have become a focus for EOR techniques,” said Al-Suwaidi. “To hit the target, a variety of techniques will be used to increase Abu Dhabi’s output.”

“[We carried out a pilot project at Rumaitha with a daily CO2 injection of 1.2  million cubic feet a day (cf/d) from 2009-11 with encouraging results,” he added. “A further two pilots are due to start in 2015 and another three are under planning.”