In order to increase revenue for the Gulf state, the United Arab Emirates is reshaping the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in the likeness of a worldwide oil giant.
The UAE aims to use its fossil fuel resources while there is still a high demand for oil and gas and spend the money on diversifying its economy to minimise its reliance on hydrocarbons, much like its Gulf neighbours Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Without specifying any specific goals, ADNOC told Reuters that as part of this approach, it was actively exploring a few prospects in the fields of LNG, gas, petrochemicals, and renewable energy.
The corporation was looking for LNG assets in Africa, according to two people with knowledge of the situation, and was thinking about purchasing Galp’s 10% investment in a large-scale natural gas project in the Rovuma basin off the coast of Mozambique.
Galp did not respond to Reuters’ inquiries, and ADNOC declined to comment.
On the transaction front, ADNOC has already been active this year. It purchased a stake in an Azerbaijani gas field, made an offer to BP for a share in Israeli gas company NewMed Energy, started acquisition negotiations with German plastics firm Covestro, and is attempting to merge with Austria’s OMV to form a $20 billion chemicals powerhouse.
Without providing any information, the state-owned corporation also confirmed to Reuters that it was investing in the trading of electricity. ADNOC was slated to launch a trade office in Geneva and a representative office in London, according to Reuters last year.
In response to written inquiries, an ADNOC representative stated: “As part of our worldwide expansion plan, we are focused on extending our position in renewables, gas, LNG, and chemicals and are actively exploring select prospects, while also investing in and growing our trading capabilities.
ADNOC has two trading divisions, both of which were established in 2020: ADNOC Trading, which specialises in crude oil, and ADNOC Global Trading, a partnership with the Italian companies Eni and OMV, which specialises in refined goods.
Although ADNOC has been involved in deals since it floated its gasoline distribution company in 2017, things really started to move quickly after a board meeting in November that was presided over by UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed.
The board authorised a five-year business strategy and capital spending of $150 billion, as well as ambitions to increase production capacity to 5 million barrels per day by 2027.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, “the thinking is to move away from a traditional state oil firm model to more closely resemble an IOC (international oil company).”
Similar to ongoing developments at state-owned energy goliaths in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, ADNOC is undergoing a transition.
National energy leaders ADNOC, Saudi Arabia’s Aramco, and QatarEnergy power their countries’ economies but have historically prioritised domestic oil and gas production.
The window of opportunity for these so-called national oil companies to monetize their reserves is now closing as the switch to renewable energy accelerates, and they are also doubling down on prospects outside.
According to information on the job-sharing website LinkedIn, ADNOC has employed more than 3,370 employees, including 28 senior managers, to drive its initiatives so far this year from organisations including international energy businesses, trading houses, banks, and consultancies.
According to LinkedIn data, ADNOC’s workforce increased by 13% this year and by 25% over the previous two years, to a total of around 32,750. However, the actual number, which ADNOC has never released, is already over 40,000, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
The ADNOC spokeswoman responded to inquiries regarding hiring by saying, “As we continue to grow our business, we are creating exciting opportunities for our talented workforce as we accelerate the transformation, decarbonization of and future-proof our company.”