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  • Writer's pictureJenny Hunt

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

30th October 2017, Updated 12th September 2023

  • Abu Dhabi produces 3.1 million barrels of oil per day.

  • Abu Dhabi produces 9.6 billion cubic feet of raw gas per day.

  • Abu Dhabi processes 900,000 barrels of condensates and crude per day.

  • Abu Dhabi processes 8.6 billion cubic feet of raw gas per day.

However, it should be noted, that Abu Dhabi has agreed to cut its production, in line with the UAE's OPEC commitment to reduce global oil outputs, as agreed in November 2016 and extended in May 2017.

(Updated 12th September 2023)

Starting in May 2023, OPEC decided to cut UAE oil production by 144,000 barrels per day, which brings the UAE's average daily output to 2.95 million barrels per day.

  • ADNOC Refining processes close to a million barrels of crude oil and condensates per day.

  • ADNOC produces 9.6 billion cubic feet of raw gas per day and is constructing an additional greenfield gas processing facility, which is expected to add approximately 1.9 billion standard cubic feet per day (bscfd) processing capacity to ADNOC Gas’ processing operations by 2028, at the earliest (Bab Gas Cap).

Abu Dhabi is one of the largest energy producers in the world. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is Abu Dhabi's diversified energy company, which operates across the energy value chain to meet the changing demands of the energy market. It is in the top tier of the lowest carbon intensity oil and gas producers in the world, and through investing in new energies and decarbonization technologies, ADNOC is commited to net zero by 2045 and zero methane emissions by 2030.

(Updated 12th September 2023)

ADNOC's current projects

  • Offshore Electrification: a $3.8 billion, first-of-its-kind, sub-sea transmission network in MENA to connect ADNOC’s offshore operations to TAQA’s clean onshore power network, unlocking cost-savings and reducing ADNOC’s offshore carbon footprint by up to 50%.

  • Waste Heat Recovery: a $600 million project using heat generated at the general utilities plant in Ruwais to propel two new steam-powered turbines to produce an additional 62,400 cubic meters of distillate water per day and 230MW of power, whilst increasing the site's thermal efficiency by nearly 30%.

  • World’s Largest 3D Seismic Survey: the Thamama Center of Excellence is creating high-resolution 3D images of Abu Dhabi’s subsurfaces, onshore, offshore and in transitional zone to accelerate hydrocarbon exploration, identifying untapped lower carbon intensity resources and rock formations to store carbon dioxide safely and securely.

  • Crude Flexibility: a $3.5 billion project to refine up to 420,000bpsd of heavier and sourer grades of crude oil at ADNOC's Ruawais refinery.

  • Ghasha Mega-Project: a multi billion dollar project which aims to unlock Abu Dhabi's natural gas reserves, from what is the world’s largest offshore sour gas development, to produce more than 1.5 billion standard cubic feet (bscfd) of natural gas per day.

  • Unconventional Gas: unlocking 1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of unconventional gas resources from the Ruwais Diyab concession before 2030.

The above overview of Abu Dhabi's oil and gas sector demonstrates the potential and opportunities. Should your company be doing business here? If so, let us explain how to set up an oil and gas company in Abu Dhabi?

What to consider when setting up an oil and gas company in Abu Dhabi

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

This is the most common question we get asked by companies looking to establish a commercial presence in Abu Dhabi. Oil and gas companies wanting to work directly with the ADNOC group will need to apply for 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, usually as a Limited Liability Company (LLC).

How to register with the Supreme Petroleum Council

The Supreme Petroleum Council is responsible for Abu Dhabi's petroleum industry. 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 (SPC approval). This approval isn't just for drilling, tank cleaning, and pipeline maintenance companies; it is also necessary for companies providing ancillary goods and services such as pumps and valves, medical supplies and consultancy services.

We recommend that companies apply for SPC approval during their incorporation process. Approval is usually received within 24-48 hours and is shown as an additional activity on the successful company's trade license: Onshore and Offshore Oil And Gas Fields And Facilities Services.

For established companies, it is still possible to apply for SPC approval by applying to the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) for the additional activity. The Supreme Petroleum Council does not charge a fee, but ADDED fees will apply. Beware: some organizations will try to charge massive fees for arranging this approval, and continue to charge the massive fee annually, which is unnecessary.

(Updated 13th September 2023)

The Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) was assimilated into the newly announced Supreme Council for Financial & Economic Affairs in December 2020; which, at that time, took over the responsibility for matters relating to petroleum and natural resources.

Gateway Group has SPC approval

Award-winning Gateway Group is well experienced in obtaining Supreme Petroleum Council approval for our clients. For those oil and gas companies wanting the extra assurance of having a local sponsor, Gateway Group provides corporate local sponsor service. Our special purpose vehicle for this service benefits our clients by already having SPC approval, making Gateway Group the local sponsor of choice for oil and gas companies.

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

  • Arrangement of commercial lease

  • Notarization of Memorandum of Association

  • Application for Supreme Petroleum Council approval and trade license issuance

  • Opening of corporate bank account

  • Registration with Immigration and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) to employ staff and apply for visas.

(Updated 13th September 2023)

***NEW***Oil & Gas Consultancy Freelancer License - Setup Online

buy online right now freelance license and freelancer visa

It is now possible to obtain a freelancer license in Abu Dhabi to provide oil and gas consultancy services to ADNOC. This is an ideal way for individual consultants to work in the oil and gas sector in Abu Dhabi. For more information, discover Gateway Group's collection of freelancer license setup packages in Abu Dhabi. Below are direct links to the Freelancer Oil Gas packages - the first is for an economic license (trade license) only; whilst the second is a complete visa package.

Meet up during ADIPEC

Are you are visiting ADIPEC this year? Discuss your Abu Dhabi business setup with one of the Gateway Group Abu Dhabi Business Setup Team. Book your appointment now. Send us a Whatsapp Message: +971 589856089.

start your company formation in Abu Dhabi with Gateway Group to do it right scan the QR code to send us a Whatsapp message now

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Written by Jenny Hunt

Founder, Gateway Group, Abu Dhabi & Dubai, United Arab Emirates

FORBES' Top 100 Most Influential Women in the Middle East

trustworthy business setup uae Gateway Group best business consultants in abu dhabi


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