Upstream operations: Asia / Middle East

In Asia and the Middle East, ExxonMobil is participating in the development of some of the world’s largest oil and natural gas projects. Our Asia and Middle East operations accounted for 33 percent of our global net oil and natural gas production.

Report Apr. 3, 2018


Upstream operations: Asia / Middle East

2017 highlights

  • Produced 62 million tonnes of LNG with Qatar Petroleum
  • Secured a 10-year license extension for Upper Zakum, with plans to grow production capacity to 1 Mbd
  • Increased Kazakhstan net production by 32 Kbd
  • Started up a 50 Kbd facility at Iraq’s West Qurna I field
  • Increased Indonesia’s Banyu Urip production to more than 200 Kbd, 20 percent above planned development basis



As a participant in the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement, we continue to work with our partners to advance a multiphased development of the Kashagan field, located in the Caspian Sea. After restarting production in September 2016, the project produced up to 290,000 barrels of oil per day in 2017. Ramp-up activities are continuing. Future phases of development are in the planning stage.


We participate in the Tengizchevroil joint venture, which includes a production license area encompassing the Tengiz field, the nearby Koralev field, and associated facilities. In 2017, our share of production from these fields averaged 165,000 barrels of liquids per day and 174 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. This joint venture is continuing construction on a mega-project to expand overall capacity by as much as 260,000 barrels of oil per day and extend existing production rates as reservoir pressure declines.


We operate the Sakhalin-1 project, which includes the Chayvo, Odoptu, and Arkutun-Dagi fields. A phased project development approach has leveraged past experience to improve efficiency, enhance performance, and continue to expand operating limits. In 2017, Sakhalin-1 set another production record of more than 275,000 barrels of oil per day. Sakhalin-1 also holds the record for nine of the 10 longest extended-reach wells in the world, including the 15-kilometer world-record well drilled in 2017.

Map of Sakhalin Island operations.

Sakhalin-1’s most recent development, Odoptu Stage 2, adds a second well site for extended-reach drilling, increases production capacity, and enables secondary recovery through natural gas and water injection. During the summers of 2016 and 2017, 30 new modules were safely delivered and installed. The modules included a new drilling rig and equipment for utilities, natural gas processing, water injection, and water treatment. Through continuity of the project management team and key contractors, the project captured significant efficiencies, contributing to savings of more than $1 billion.

Since the start-up of Sakhalin-1 in 2005, more than 715 million barrels of oil have been produced and exported to global markets. In addition, approximately 770 billion cubic feet of natural gas have been supplied to domestic Russian customers. We continue to pursue development options for Sakhalin-1 natural gas resources.

We continue to comply with all sanctions applicable to our affiliates’ investments in the Russian Federation.

Aerial view of Odoptu Stage 2 fields.
Photo — Odoptu Stage 2 started up on schedule in December 2017. The project expands on our long operating history in Sakhalin and is expected to develop nearly 300 million gross barrels of additional oil resource.


Qatar contributes more than one-quarter of the world’s LNG, primarily from the North Field, part of the world’s largest non-associated natural gas field. Among international oil companies, we hold the largest stake in Qatar’s upstream, with participation in the Ras Laffan and Qatargas LNG joint ventures, as well as natural gas projects Al Khaleej and Barzan. Production from these strategic joint ventures exceeded 60 million tonnes of LNG in 2017. Al Khaleej Gas (AKG) supplies up to 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to the local market. Barzan will add up to 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, primarily to meet Qatar’s rapidly growing infrastructure and industry requirements.

United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)

Aerial view of Upper Zakum island, UAE.
Photo — Installation of all modules on Upper Zakum’s artificial islands was completed in 2017. Initial production is flowing from all four islands.

The U.A.E. is home to Upper Zakum, one of the world’s largest oil fields, covering more than 1,150 square kilometers. At year-end 2017, production capacity exceeded 750,000 barrels of oil per day. In association with our joint venture partners, we are applying advanced reservoir simulation and extended-reach drilling technology. Eight drilling rigs are operating from the four artificial islands, and facility module fabrication and installation on the islands are complete. Initial production is flowing from all four islands.

Together with our joint venture partners, we have committed to increase Upper Zakum production capacity to 1 million barrels per day by 2024. Under this agreement, a 10-year license extension has been granted, extending the concession to 2051.

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