ADNOC Drilling has secured a $1.7bn contract from its parent company ADNOC to provide drill and related services to exploit the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) unconventional energy resources.

To service the contract, and explore future opportunities in unconventional resources, ADNOC Drilling has established a new company, Turnwell Industries (Turnwell).

Turnwell will be responsible for delivering 144 unconventional oil and gas wells under the contract.

ADNOC Drilling signed a term sheet to enter into partnerships with Schlumberger Middle East (SLB), and Patterson-UTI International, subject to the signing of definitive agreements and securing regulatory approvals.

Turnwell will focus on unconventional drilling operations.

Patterson-UTI anticipates acquiring a minority stake in Turnwell while Schlumberger Middle East will also acquire a minority interest.

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The initial phase of this unconventional energy development is set to deploy up to nine land rigs, with five already part of ADNOC Drilling’s fleet as of the end of December 2023.

Patterson-UTI anticipates contributing its drilling and oilfield service expertise to Turnwell, along with a limited cash investment for working capital.

Although there are no immediate plans to supply drilling equipment, Patterson-UTI may consider it in the future based on the potential of long-term capital returns.

ADNOC Drilling plans to utilise advanced AI for smart drilling design, completions engineering and production solutions.

This initiative will be supported by ADNOC Drilling’s joint venture with Alpha Dhabi, called Enersol.

ADNOC Drilling CEO Abdulrahman Abdulla Al Seiari said: “Abu Dhabi’s unconventional energy resources are among the world’s largest. This award for 144 wells is just the beginning.

“It represents a transformational opportunity for ADNOC Drilling as the UAE’s world-class unconventional energy resources will require many thousands more wells and we are in a prime position to deliver them.”

As per the estimates, Abu Dhabi holds 220 billion barrels of unconventional oil and 460 trillion cubic feet of unconventional gas.

Recently, ADNOC partnered with AI companies G42 and Presight Partner to accelerate AI solutions in the energy sector.