The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the world’s major oil-producing countries. A member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), the UAE has estimated recoverable oil reserves of around 97 billion barrels, of which the emirate of Abu Dhabi alone accounts for around 92.2 billion barrels.
The petroleum experience of Abu Dhabi has been varied and extensive. The structure of the industry has developed from the original concession arrangements through to the establishment of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in 1971 and its subsidiaries. During this transformation of the industry in Abu Dhabi, the legal framework governing the development of petroleum resources in the emirate has evolved, as has the tax system applicable to operating companies, the means of dispute resolution, and the overall organizational structure of the industry.
The structure of the Abu Dhabi oil industry is built around the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), which has rapidly assumed the role of a link between government institutions–which establish petroleum policy–and the operating companies that are responsible for executing approved projects. ADNOC is responsible for the implementation of all aspects of the oil policy of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
As the principal producer of oil and gas in the UAE, ADNOC’s position in the industry is central. Atef Suleiman is uniquely qualified to assess the role of ADNOC, and he here examines the nature of its operations, and explores its ability to innovate and develop in order to successfully ride the new trends in the oil industry.