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UAE oil output rising as Abu Dhabi taps offshore Umm Lulu field for gains: sources

Dubai — The UAE is ramping up output from its offshore Umm Lulu oil field to help boost its overall production to nearly 3 million b/d, sources close to the matter said Wednesday, as OPEC producers continue to loosen the taps.

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The UAE's reported production already hit 2.975 million b/d in July, its highest level in a year, up about 85,000 b/d from June.

Further increases will come mainly from its new offshore concession, which includes the Umm Lulu and Satah al-Razboot (SARB) oil fields, an industry source said on condition of anonymity.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., which produces nearly all of the UAE's crude, launched its new light, sweet Umm Lulu grade earlier this year as a blend of crudes from those two fields, with an expected API density of around 39 degrees.

Umm Lulu was producing around 30,000 b/d in August, but is now starting to ramp up, and could hit 75,000 b/d, one UAE oil observer said.

The first Umm Lulu cargo was lifted in July from Zirku Island in the Gulf. In the longer term, ADNOC has said it wants to reach a combined 215,000 b/d from the Umm Lulu and SARB fields.

The grade is Abu Dhabi's first since it introduced Das Blend in 2014 from crudes produced at the offshore Umm Shaif and Lower Zakum fields. ADNOC also exports offshore Upper Zakum crude and its flagship Murban grade, which comes from onshore fields.

The company's plans to raise Upper Zakum production capacity by 20% has been delayed from this year until at least the first quarter of 2019, one of the contractors working on the project said last week.

OPEC and 10 non-OPEC allies on June 23 agreed to a 1 million b/d output boost but have yet to reveal how they plan to allocate those extra barrels.

UAE energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei serves as OPEC's rotating president this year and will attend a September 23 meeting in Algiers of the six-country monitoring committee overseeing the deal, where production allocations are expected to be discussed.

ADNOC, which aims to achieve a production capacity of 3.5 million b/d by the end of 2018, said in a statement in July that it "has the ability to increase oil production by several hundred thousand barrels of oil per day, should this be required."

--Adal Mirza, adal.mirza@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Fox, newsdesk@spglobal.com