Abu Dhabi plans to expand the capacity of its Upper Zakum offshore oil field to 1 million barrels a day (b/d) by 2022, according to sources working on the current field expansion.

Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors are currently carrying out work for owner Zakum Development Company (Zadco) to bring the field’s capacity to 750,000 b/d, which is expected to be completed by 2018-19.

Zadco awarded the EPC contracts on Upper Zakum’s early production facilities in 2012 and early 2013 with the largest contract, worth $3.7bn, awarded to a consortium of UK-based Petrofac and South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Engineering (DSME).

Zadco has built four artificial islands to support drilling rigs as an alternative to installing new wellhead platforms and flowlines.

“Zadco may ask the existing contractors to continue [to expanded capacity to 1 million b/d],” said a source familiar with the project. “But in the current low oil price environment, Adnoc may not choose to prioritise large oil capacity expansions.”

Upper Zakum is one of the world’s biggest offshore oil fields and the UAE’s largest-producing upstream oil asset. In late 2013, Zadco said the field was producing at an average of 585,000 b/d.

In August 2015 UK-based Amec Foster Wheeler announced that it had been awarded an extension of its existing project management consultancy (PMC) contract on the expansion, with work expected to be completed in December 2017.

Abu Dhabi is boosting production at Upper Zakum and several other offshore fields as part of its plans to increase crude production capacity to 3.5 million b/d by 2017-18.

Zadco is a joint venture of state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), US-based oil major ExxonMobil and Japan Oil Development Company (Jodco).