top of page
  • Writer's pictureJenny Hunt

How To Setup An Oil & Gas Company In Abu Dhabi

15th October 2018 (Updated where indicated)

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:

  • Obtain Supreme Petroleum Council approval

  • Complete ADNOC`s vendor registration process

  • Get certified for ADNOC`s In Country Value scheme (ICV)

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 – What type of business license do you need?

  • 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 (SPC) 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. 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.

SPC Registration Fee

***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 Group helps clients to avoid this unnecessary experience. Gateway Group is itself Supreme Petroleum Council-approved, which means that we meet the local partner requirements for oil and gas companies wishing to work directly with ADNOC, and are experienced in the requirement and processes. Send us a Whatsapp Message: +971 589856089.

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.

(Updated 7th September 2023)

With the introduction of the UAE's Foreign Direct Investment Law, it is now possible for some companies to have 100% foreign ownership. Each Emirate is responsible for regulating which business activities are allowed 100% foreign ownership in their respective Emirate. In Abu Dhabi, some activities are opened up for 100% foreign ownership, whilst others still require an Emirati local partner. You are welcome to contact our Abu Dhabi Business Setup team to find out if your business activities allow 100% foreign ownership: Send us a Whatsapp Message: +971 589856089.

(Updated 7th September 2023)

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.

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. Send us a Whatsapp Message: +971 589856089.

CICPA registration request assistance Gateway Group Abu Dhabi UAE scan the QR code to Whatsapp message us

If you found this blog post informative and helpful,

please show your appreciation by clicking the ❤️ at the bottom of this page.

Thank you.


Written by Nathan Hunt

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

Gateway Group who we are and why we exist honesty trust integrity Jenny Hunt Nathan Hunt Abu Dhabi Dubai UAE


Blog Categories
bottom of page