Oil Industry Giants: ADNOC

The second in our series profiles the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Abu Dhabi oil and gas, ADGAS, ADMA_OPCO, ADNOC, Borouge, Fertil, Gasco, Intergrated Gas development project, Lng, NAtional Drilling Compnay, NDC, Oil Industry Giants, Shah sour gas project, Takreer, UAE, UAE gas projects, UAE oil and gas, SPECIAL REPORTS, Top 10...

Additional reporting by Peter Ward

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The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is the state-owned enterprise in charge of Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas reserves.

The company has earned itself a reputation within the oil & gas industry over the past few years as being one of the few national oil companies (NOCs) that strikes the right balance between fulfilling its responsibilities to both the public and private sector.

Becoming fully nationalised in 1971, ADNOC has grown exponentially since, investing heavily across the whole hydrocarbons sector. The company now has 11 subsidiary companies that work across the whole hydrocarbons industry from upstream through to transportation, refining and petrochemicals.

So, in the second of ArabianOilandGas.com’s special features we take an in-depth look at the company entrusted by Abu Dhabi to look after the world’s sixth largest reserves of oil and fifth largest reserves of gas.

  1. Facts & Figures
  2. Timeline
  3. Supreme Petroleum Council
  4. Exploration & Production
  5. Exploration & Production Services
  6. Oil & Gas Processing
  7. Chemicals & Petrochemicals
  8. Major Projects
  9. Jobs at ADNOC
  10. ADNOC in the News

Facts & Figures

Founded: 1971
Headquarters: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Chairman and CEO: Yousef Omeir bin Yousef
Employees: 23,000
Net export revenues: US$72 billion (estimated) in 2008
Crude oil reserves: 97 billion barrels as of year-end 2008.
Gas reserves: 6 trillion cubic metres
Crude oil production: 2-2.4 million bpd.


1971 Incorporation of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
1972 Incorporation of National Drilling Company (NDC).
1973 Incorporation of National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC).
1973 Incorporation of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for Distribution.
1975 Incorporation of Abu Dhabi National Tankers Company (ADNATCO).
1976 Abu Dhabi's first refinery was commissioned at Umm Al Nar.
1977 Incorporation of Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Ltd (ADGAS)
1977 Incorporation of Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO).
1977 Incorporation of Zakum Development Company (ZADCO).
1978 Incorporation of Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO).
1978 Incorporation of Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Ltd. (GASCO)
1980 Incorporation of Ruwais Fertilizer Industries (FERTIL).
1983 DNOC's first offshore oil discovery in Bu Dana structure.
1983 ADNOC started its first Khuff gas well. The Khuff exploration programme resulted in the discovery of gas and condensate in several fields.

1984 First Shipment of Ammonia from FERTIL.
1985 Hydrocracker complex at Ruwais Refining was commissioned.
1988 Drilling of first horizontal well in Abu Dhabi.
1988 Abu Dhabi Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) was established as the ultimate authority on all matters relating to oil and gas in the Emirate.
1991 ADNOC's first onshore oil discovery in Haliba structure.
1993 Establishment of National Gas Shipping Company Limited (NGSCO).
1995 ADDCAP becomes 100% owned by ADNOC.
1996 Commissioning of Zirku-Das Gas Pipeline.
1996 Commissioning of Ruwais Project: General Utilities Plant, Sulphur Handling Facility, Bab Maqta-Taweela Pipeline and Ruwais expanded berth and new Projects Office building.
1999 Abu Dhabi Gas Company (Atheer) and Abu Dhabi Oil refinery Company (Takreer) are formally established.
2002 ADNOC , ADMA-OPCO & ZADCO completed the largest ocean bottom 3D seismic survey (1,800 km) ever acquired in the world.
2005 NDC received the latest offshore rig – Al Hail.
2006 First cargo of Low Sulphur Gas Oil (500 PPM) of 80,000 Metric Tons was exported to Brazil Ex-Ruwais Terminal.

The Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC)

Established in 1988, the SPC formulates and oversees the implementation of Abu Dhabi's petroleum policy.

The SPC is chaired by Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and is the highest governing body of oil, gas and similar industry related activities in the UAE.

The secretary general of the SPC is Yousef Omeir bin Yousef. Al Omeir is also the chairman and CEO of ADNOC. Prior to his current role Al Omeir also served as oil minister for the UAE.

SPC members

Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Sheikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Mohammed Habroush Al Suwaidi, Yousef Omair Bin Yousef (secretary general), Dr. Jua'an Bin Salem Al Dhahiri, Hamad Mohammad Al Hur Al Suwaidi, Khalifa Mohammed Khalifa Al Kindi, Eng. Abdullah Nasser Al Suwaidi

Exploration and Production

Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO)

Created in 1977, ADMA-OPCO is owned by ADNOC and three other shareholders and deals with all of the offshore exploration and production operations for Abu Dhabi.

ADNOC own 60% with Total owning 13.33%, BP owning 14.67% and the Japan Oil Development Company (JODCO) taking a 12% share. 

The company contracts a fleet of offshore vessels and helicopters, while logistics support is co-ordinated between Das Island, the fields and Mussafah Supply Base.

At present, the company is using 12 rigs, all under contract with National Drilling Company (NDC), another member of the ADNOC Group.

Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO)

ADCO was incorporated by ADNOC in 1978 and is responsible for all onshore and shallow coastal water oil and gas operations for ADNOC.

The company produces from the following oil fields: - Asab, Bab, Bu Hasa, Sahil, Shah, Rumaitha, Shanayel and Dabbi’ya and Jarn Yaphour. The fields are connected by a 450 kilometre pipeline network

The company is also working on a number of large-scale projects including the onshore section of the $10 billion Integrated Gas Development.

Zakum Development Company (ZADCO)

ZADCO's mandate was to develop the Upper Zakum field on behalf of ADNOC and for the benefit of the shareholders in the joint venture, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), ExxonMobil, and Japan Oil Development Company Ltd. (JODCO).

Besides Upper Zakum , the Company operates Umm Al Dalkh, and Satah fields. Crude oil from Upper Zakum, Umm Al Dalkh and Satah fields is pumped via main oil lines to Zirku Island for further processing, storage and export.

Zirku Island is located 140km north west of Abu Dhabi. With its advanced oil and gas installations, Zirku is considered the main industrial base for the processing, storage and export of oil from Upper Zakum, Umm Al-Dalkh and Satah Fields.

Exploration and Production Services

National Drilling Company (NDC)

NDC offers onshore and offshore drilling services as well as barge services, wireline services and logging services. The firm was established in 1972 by a resolution of the Abu Dhabi Council of Ministers.

The company took delivery of its first onshore rigs in 1973 and acquired its first offshore rig in 1975. In 2008 NDC acquired two new onshore rigs, taking the total number to date to 18.

Since Rig ND-01 began work in 1973, NDC has drilled over 4000 wells, onshore and offshore, to a total depth of over 21.5 million feet, more than the radius of the earth (20.9 million feet).

NDC works in close collaboration with both ADCO and ADMA-OPCO on all of its various projects.


ESNAAD may look like an acronym, but is actually the Arabic word for “support”.

A wholly owned subsidiary of ADNOC, the ESNAAD facility currently known as Mussafah Offshore Supply Base (MOSB) is strategically located at the Industrial hub of Mussafah approximately 40kms by road from the city center of Abu Dhabi.

The base spreads over 148 hectares of fully developed land alongside the channel, with its state-of-the-art facilities. The company is well equipped to meet the challenge that lie ahead in supporting the oil and gas industry in the region operating in an era of modern technology.

ESNAAD owns and operates a professionally logistic support base at Mussafah, Abu Dhabi, which extends over 1.4 million square meters designed to meet the current and the future needs of target industry. The base operates 24 hours a day through the year and it provides with security round the-clock through an access control procedure and equipped with highly sophisticated fire detection and fire lighting system.

Oil and Gas Processing

Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company Ltd. (GASCO) & Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company (ADGAS)

The two Abu Dhabi companies directly involved in natural gas industry are Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Company Ltd. (GASCO), and Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company Ltd. (ADGAS).

GASCO was founded in 1978 to process the associated gas of Abu Dhabi's onshore gas and then pump it to Al-Ruwais Gas Liquefaction Plant where it is fractionated and exported. ADNOC utilises part of the GASCO-produced gas locally.

ADGAS, which is the Gulf pioneer in the field of Gas Liquefaction, was established in 1973 and started producing and exporting liquefied gas in 1977. Its Plant on Das island is unique worldwide in its ability to process both associated gas, which is a by-product of oil extraction operations, and natural gas extracted as a free product from gas reservoirs.

ADGAS Plant's feedgas, comprising natural and associated kinds, comes from Abu Dhabi's offshore fields. The company's plant is comprised of three process trains. The third of these, started production in 1994 as an addition to the original two that were commissioned in 1977.When commissioned, the 3rd LNG train was the largest of its kind in the world.

The Plant's average annual production is eight million tonnes of liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, pentane and liquid sulphur.

Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (TAKREER)

TAKREER was established as a public joint-stock company in 1999 to take over refining operations previously undertaken by ADNOC.

The firm’s areas of operation include the refining of crude oil and condensate, supply of petroleum products and production of granulated sulphur in compliance with domestic and international specifications.

The company is currently working on a number of projects, the largest of which is the second phase of a pipeline that will link the Ruwais refinery, the Abu Dhabi refinery, the Al-Ain storage depot, the Mussafah distribution depot and Abu Dhabi International airport.

TAKREER is also now attempting to expand its activities in the downstream sector.

Chemicals and Petrochemicals

Ruwais Fertilizers Industries (FERTIL)

FERTIL was established in 1980 as a joint venture between ADNOC and Total. The prime objective behind establishing the company was to utilise the lean gas supplied from the onshore fields of BAB, ASAB and Thammama-C to manufacture and market fertilisers. The firm’s facility is located in Ruwais Industrial Zone, about 235km from the city of Abu Dhabi and comprises of an ammonia and urea processing plant.

The installed capacity for the urea processing plant is 1,500 MTPD and 1,000 MTPD for the urea plant. Both plants have fully integrated utility units with storage facilities.


Borouge was established in 1998 as a joint venture between ADNOC and Borealis A/S. The firm provides a range of products for infrastructure applications including water, gas and industrial pipe systems, power and communication cables.

Borouge has a presence throughout the Middle East and in order to meet ever increasing market demand, the firm announced on April 7th, that it has initiated the feasibility study for Borouge 3; a further expansion of its polyolefin operations in Abu Dhabi to add approximately 2.5 million tonnes per year of capacity by 2014.

The proposed expansion would enable Borouge to meet the growing demands of specific polyethylene and polypropylene markets in the Middle East and Asia. The Borouge 3 study will explore options to take advantage of additional feedstock becoming available from planned upstream ADNOC expansions to expand both Polyethylene and Polypropylene production capacities beyond the current Borouge 2 Project which is under construction and on target for start up in 2010.

Major Projects

Integrated Gas Development (IGD)

Scope: To process 1 billion scfd of offshore gas from the Shaif and Khuff reservoirs to onshore processing facilities at Habshan and Ruwais.
Status: Contracts awarded, work underway.
Completion date: Third quarter 2013
Estimated cost: At least US$9.2 billion
Known contractors: Fluor Corporation (US), JGC (Japan), Tecnimont (Italy), Hyundai Engineering & Construction (South Korea), Petrofac (UK), GS Engineering (South Korea), CBI (US), Worley Parsons (US), Fluor Corp (US), Kellogg Brown and Root (US).

The IGD project is an essential part of Abu Dhabi’s drive to increase its gas production to meet the soaring domestic demand as the Emirate tries to diversify its industry and move towards gas-intensive petrochemicals production.

ADNOC subsidiaries Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Ltd. (GASCO) and Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO) are overseeing the project with GASCO handling the onshore facilities and ADMA-OPCO handling the offshore work.

The IGD Project will be built at a new location in Habshan titled Habshan 5. The site will house four gas processing trains with a combined processing capacity of 2 billion standard cubic feet per day (scfd) of gas.

The scope of works will include the construction of a process plant, utilities and offsites, the Ruwais fourth natural gas liquids (NGL) train and Ruwais storage tanks.

GASCO said in a recent statement that the initial phase of the projects will commence from the respective contractors' home offices before moving to the respective sites at Habshan and Ruwais for construction activities.

Shah Sour Gas Field Development
(Joint venture with ConocoPhillips)

Scope: Production and processing facilities for extremely sour gas field.
Status: Flour Corp. has complete initial engineering and design work and 10 contract packages currently out to tender.
Estimated cost: $10 billion
Pre-approved bidders: Samsung (South Korea), Larsen & Toubro (India), Hyundai Heavy Industries (South Korea), Petrofac (UK), Saipem (Italy), GS Engineering & Construction (South Korea), Techint (Italy), SK Engineering (South Korea)

The Shah project involves the development of sour gas reservoirs within the Shah field, located onshore approximately 180 km south-west of the city of Abu Dhabi.

The project will involve the construction of several gas gathering systems, construction of processing trains to process one billion cubic feet per day gas at Shah to produce 540 million cubic feet per day of network gas, in addition to new gas and liquid pipelines and the construction of sulfur exporting facilities at Ruwais Industrial City.

ADNOC and ConocoPhillips will jointly share the cost and a new company will be formed to manage and operate Shah facilities upon completing the project. ADNOC will retain a 60% share with ConocoPhillips taking the remaining 40 %.

The Borouge 3 expansion project

Scope: Major expansion of production facility in Ruwais, which will increase the total capacity of the plant to 4.5 million tonnes of polyolefins annually.
Status: Contracts awarded, work underway.
Completion date: End of 2013
Estimated cost: At least US$4 billion
Known contractors: Tecnimont (Italy), Linde (Germany), Bechtel (US).

The Borouge plant located in Ruwais recently completed its phase two expansion and work has now started on phase three.

Part of the phase three expansion is the construction of another ethane cracker with a capacity of 1.5 million metric tonnes per annum (mtpa).

The new cracker is the third to be built by the German contractor for Borouge. The others are the existing 600,000 mtpa cracker and a 1.5 million mtpa cracker currently being constructed.

When the works are fully completed in 2013 the plant will have a capacity of 4.5 million mtpa of polyolefins and Borouge will have the world’s largest ethane cracker complex.

In addition to the ethane cracker, the expansion includes the construction of second generation Borstar polypropylene and polyethylene units, a low density polyethylene unit and a butene unit, as well as related off-site utilities and marine facilities.

Jobs at ADNOC

As one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies ADNOC obviously employs a large number of multinational, administration and technical staff. The company enjoys a good reputation in the industry for training and development of all of its workforce.
ADNOC also takes the training and development of Emirati nationals very seriously and has a number of excellent initiatives in place that attempt to get as many local people working for the organisation as possible.
The investment is working off and recently ADNOC was voted, along with Saudi Aramco, as one the favoured employers in the region by students in the GCC.
Here a selection of vacancies currently being advertised by the company.

Project Engineer (Adma-Opco)

Geophysicist (Zadco)

Planning Analyst (Zadco)

Head Of Shift Operations (Adgas)

Senior Electrical Engineer (NDC)

Rig Manager (Offshore) (NDC)

Barge Engineer (NDC)

ADNOC in the news

A selection of news and features about ADNOC.

Technip wins ADNOC subsidiary oilfield contract

ADNOC to cut October deliveries 15%

ADNOC subsidiary signs $402 million gas contract

ADNOC JV awards Borouge contract to Tecnimont

ADNOC looks to charter tankers for storing crude

Exclusive: ADNOC vows to continue investment

Borouge signs logistics contract with Gulftainer


Interview: Borouge CEO Abdulaziz Alhajri

Enhanced crosswell reservoir imaging

Conquering giants

In search of a workforce

Lighting the way


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