The study, looking at ways of increasing capacity to 750,000 barrels a day (b/d) from 550,000 b/d, will assess wellhead platforms, subsea pipelines and the four main crude oil processing trains on the island. It will also entail debottlenecking of the processing units on Zirku. Project costs are estimated at $500 million-750 million.

More work is planned at Upper Zakum. A tender is due to be issued by early summer for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) package for the water processing facilities project. It is aimed at handling increasing water production and will look at ways of separating, treating and disposing of water produced at the three offshore platforms and transporting it to an onshore treatment facility. The US/Canadian VECO has recently completed the conceptual study.

In late March, the US’ Exxon-Mobil agreed with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to take a 28 per cent stake in Upper Zakum (MEED 31:3:06).