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Why the Supreme Petroleum Council is important for Oil & Gas companies in Abu Dhabi

2nd February 2015

To work directly with ADNOC, it's necessary to be registered, onshore in Abu Dhabi with a Trade License issued by the Department of Economic Development (DED) and to have a special approval from the Supreme Petroleum Council.

What is the Supreme Petroleum Council?

The Supreme Petroleum Council was established under law No. (1) in 1988 and is responsible for the petroleum industry in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, including formulating and overseeing the implementation of Abu Dhabi's petroleum policy to ensure its goals are achieved. The Supreme Petroleum Council also assumes responsibility as Board of Directors for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and the Petrol Department, which upholds the provision of Law No. (8) of 1978 relating to the preservation of the oil industry and ensures that all companies related to the industry abide by this law.

What is Supreme Petroleum Council approval?

An approval is shown on a company’s Trade License as an additional activity called: Onshore And Offshore Oil And Gas Fields And Facilities Services. The Supreme Petroleum Council does not charge any fees for applications/approvals, although DED fees will apply. This activity is required for all activities in relation to oil and gas, from construction and drilling, through to catering and trading of equipment.

Supreme Petroleum Council approval will also be required for obtaining permits from the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection ‎Authority (CICPA), to enable companies to access the oil fields.

Employees of gas companies are not allowed to apply for approval.

How to get Supreme Petroleum Council approval

This is somewhat of a mystery and grey area as far as availability of information is concerned. The published required documents for the application, in addition to the corporate documents are as follows:

Local partner documents (Emirates ID, Passport Copy & Unique ID, Family Book, Work ID)

It is perceived that the approval is more likely to be granted if the local partner or Service Agent is either an Emirati individual holding an Abu Dhabi passport or an Abu Dhabi entity. Furthermore, it is perceived that if the local partner is a corporate entity and already has Supreme Petroleum Council approval themselves, then approval is more also more likely.

Traditionally, the application process could take some months; however during the last few years, the speed of application has increased significantly and is now usually completed within a couple of days.

Can free zone companies can get Supreme Petroleum Council approval?

Generally, no, free zone companies can not get Supreme Petroleum Council approval. However, in 2014, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Supreme Petroleum Council and Masdar City, enabling companies in the Masdar City free zone to be able to apply for Supreme Petroleum Council approval. However, similar to an onshore company, an application to the Supreme Petroleum Council is merely that, an application; there is no guarantee of approval. Also, there are special requirements for a Masdar free zone company applying for Supreme Petroleum Council approval:

The Company should base its UAE Head Quarters at Masdar City;

  • Annual fees of AED10,000 are applicable in addition to the business license fees.

  • The company is required to lease a minimum area at Masdar City of 100 sqm before the activity is listed on the license issued by Masdar City.

  • The company should comply with the laws & regulations of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), SPC and Masdar City at all times.

How Gateway Group can help your oil and gas company get Supreme Petroleum Council approval

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. Gateway has successfully obtained Supreme Petroleum Council approval for numerous clients. To get started with applying for Supreme Petroleum Council approval for your oil and gas organisation in Abu Dhabi, email us:

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