Middle East - Projects

Sharjah flag Upper Zakum oil field project, United Arab Emirates

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Client: Zakum Development Company (ZADCO)

Project value: US$3.7 billion, in consortium with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd (DSME). Petrofac’s share is valued at US$2.9 billion

Location: 80 km off the coast of Abu Dhabi


In April 2013, Petrofac was awarded a contract by ZADCO for the Upper Zakum, UZ750 field development. We are working in partnership with DSME and co-ordinating more than 30 specialist sub-contractors.

The UZ750 project is one of the major offshore field development projects in the UAE. It is located 80 km off the coast of Abu Dhabi, and is being constructed on artificial islands. It’s a particularly unique hybrid – a huge onshore project requiring an unusual blend of offshore skills and disciplines.

The project comprises engineering, procurement, modules and buildings fabrication, transportation, construction and commissioning of island surface facilities (EPC-2) on four artificial islands. Specifically, this will include:

  • cluster manifolds
  • crude oil process facilities
  • water injection and gas lift
  • oil export pumps
  • power generation
  • and associated utilities

On a project of this scale you would expect to see at least 10,000 people and hundreds of acres of storage. But, at Upper Zakum’s isolated island sites, space is at a real premium – and it all needs to be done differently.

Everything is corralled into distinct phases, and almost 50% of the fabrication work takes place more than 6,000 km away in South Korea, Singapore and China. The construction sequence on the islands is the driver to the engineering, procurement and module fabrication sequence and delivery from the yards. With some modules weighing in at more than 3,000 tonnes, precision planning is vital. Expertise in logistics is just as important as engineering prowess.

Project insight: maintenance strategy

Did you know our Chennai’s Computerised Maintenance and Management System (CMMS) team is developing a database to record the entire plant and machinery for each and every piece of equipment on the island?

The system acts as a single repository for details such as technical specifications, asset cost and criticality rank of around 200,000 pieces of equipment and their corresponding spare parts!

This allows users to generate periodical work orders for conducting preventive and predictive maintenance. It also ensures that all equipment is inspected according to its importance and criticality in line with production, safety and cost requirements.

Video: watch super heavy lifts in action for UZ750

Oil production modules were transported from China and Singapore to Abu Dhabi. This involved loading the modules onto cargo barges and towing them to an anchorage point where a semi-submersible heavy-lift vessel was waiting. The vessel sailed to Abu Dhabi where the barges were offloaded and towed to their respective islands in the UZ750 field development.