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How To Set Up An Oil & Gas Company In Abu Dhabi 2018

15th October 2018

To setup an oil and gas company in Abu Dhabi its necessary to consider the following:

  • Knowledge of the Abu Dhabi oil and gas market

  • What are the opportunities in Abu Dhabi?

  • What are the requirements to work directly with ADNOC?

  • How to set up a company in Abu Dhabi

Introducing the Abu Dhabi Oil & Gas market

  • Abu Dhabi has proven oil reserves of 92.2 billion barrels.

  • Abu Dhabi produces 3 million barrels of oil per day.

  • Abu Dhabi produces over 9.8 billion cubic feet of raw gas per day.

  • Abu Dhabi produces 8 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day.

  • Abu Dhabi produces 1 billion standard cubic feet of sour gas per day.

  • Abu Dhabi processes 922,000 barrels of condensate and crude per day.

  • Abu Dhabi produces 600,000 metric tons of high quality base oil each year.

  • Abu Dhabi produces 4.5 million tonnes of polyolefin per year.

  • Abu Dhabi is the 12th largest energy producer in the world.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is Abu Dhabi’s energy company. On behalf of the Abu Dhabi government, ADNOC is responsible for exploration, production, storage, refining and distribution, and development of petrochemical products. It’s objective is to find new and innovative ways to maximise the value of Abu Dhabi`s resources. It looks to pioneer approaches and technologies to meet the demands of the developing energy market.

The above overview provides an outline of Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas sector, but what are the opportunities?

What are the current oil and gas opportunities in Abu Dhabi?

ADNOC has unveiled plans to invest $45 billion in expanding its Ruwais petrochemical complex in Abu Dhabi`s Al Dhafra region. This will make it the largest integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex in the world. It will also increase the range of ADNOC's petrochemical and derivative products.

Abu Dhabi has a new block licensing strategy. ADNOC has launched its first ever competitive bid round for new licensing opportunities for the exploration, development and production of oil and gas in the Emirate. Six blocks have been announced - two offshore and four onshore. If the bid process is running on schedule, it was due to close in October 2018 with the first results being announced before the end of the year.

The above demonstrates the potential and opportunities. Should your company be doing business in Abu Dhabi? If so, how to start an oil and gas business in Abu Dhabi?

What are the requirements to work directly with ADNOC?

For companies wishing to work directly with ADNOC they will need to do three things:

How to setup an oil and gas company in Abu Dhabi

  • Onshore or free zone?

  • How to register with the Supreme Petroleum Council?

  • Legal structures – Limited Liability Company or Foreign Branch ownership?

  • What is involved in the company formation process?

Where to set up your business in Abu Dhabi- onshore or free zone?

Oil and gas companies wanting to work directly with the ADNOC will require Supreme Petroleum Council approval. Whilst this approval is possible via the Masdar free zone it comes with more conditions and fees. As such, oil and gas companies generally set up on onshore either as a Limited Liability Company or a Foreign Branch Office.

How to register with the Supreme Petroleum Council

The Supreme Petroleum Council is responsible for Abu Dhabi’s petroleum industry. For more information about the Supreme Petroleum Council, read another of our articles HERE. Any company operating in oil and gas and wanting to register with ADNOC for the supply of goods or services will need to have Supreme Petroleum Council approval. This approval isn’t just for drilling, tank cleaning, and pipeline maintenance; it is necessary for companies providing any ancillary goods and services such as training, medical supplies and consultancy.

We recommend companies apply for Supreme Petroleum Council approval during their incorporation process. The approval is usually received within 24-48 hours. The approval shows as an additional activity on the Commercial License (Trade License): Onshore and Offshore Oil And Gas Fields And Facilities Services.

Beware of organizations which charge massive fees for arranging the Supreme Petroleum Council approval and on continue to charge large going fees annually. This is 100% an unnecessary fee!

How Gateway Group can help you to obtain Supreme Petroleum Council approval

Consider the hassle, time and expense of setting up a company only to find out that you can’t get the Supreme Petroleum Council approval because you don’t meet the requirements. Gateway helps clients to avoid this unnecessary experience. Gateway is Supreme Petroleum Council-approved, which means that we meet the local partner requirements for oil and gas companies wishing to work directly with ADNOC. For more information about how Gateway can assist your business applying for Supreme Petroleum Council approval, please email us:

Limited Liability Company or Foreign Branch Office?

Oil and gas companies setting up onshore in Abu Dhabi are required to have a local sponsor:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): requires 51% ownership by an Emirati local sponsor

  • Foreign Branch Office: requires a national service agent, but the foreign oil or gas company retains 100% ownership.

Gateway Group can discuss which of the above legal structures will suit your planned Abu Dhabi business. Gateway meets the requirements to act as a local sponsor or service agent, thus providing security and control to our clients.

Overview of the process to set up an oil and gas company in Abu Dhabi

  • Initial consultation to understand the planned activities and to determine the legal structure

  • Preparation of legal documents

  • Application for Trade Name approval and Immigration pre-approval

  • Arrangement of commercial lease

  • Notarization of Memorandum of Association or Service Agent Agreement

  • Application for Supreme Petroleum Council approval

  • Commercial License Issue

  • Opening of corporate bank account

  • Registration with Immigration and Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) to visa staff.

Visiting ADIPEC 2018

Are you are visiting ADIPEC 2018? Arrange to meet with Gateway Group to discuss your Abu Dhabi business setup, please email us:

Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO

Gateway Group of Companies Abu Dhabi & Dubai UAE


Related Gateway Group Blogs

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Why The Supreme Petroleum Council Is Important For Oil And Gas Companies In Abu Dhabi


Gateway Group Of Companies

Protect your business and profits and have an efficient business setup in Abu Dhabi and Dubai by engaging the award-winning Gateway Group to deliver our customised business setup, unique local sponsor packages, and visa processing. To establish your business in the UAE, Email us:


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