Country Listing

United Arab Emirates Table of Contents

United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi granted its first oil concession, covering its entire territory, in 1939 to the Trucial Coast Development Oil Company (renamed the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Company, or ADPC, in 1962). Oil was discovered in 1960; production and export commenced in 1962 offshore and in 1963 onshore. ADNOC acquired 60 percent of ADPC in the early 1970s. In 1978 ADPC was reconstituted as the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (Adco). In the late 1980s, the remainder of Adco's shares were divided: British Petroleum (BP), Royal Dutch Shell Oil, and Compagnie Française des Pétroles (CFP) received 9.5 percent each; Mobil Oil and Exxon, 4.75 percent each; and Participations and Explorations (Partex), 2.0 percent. The principal onshore fields were Bu Hasa, Bab, and Asab. Onshore production totaled 267 million barrels in 1980.

In 1953 the amirate granted a concession to the D'Arcy Exploration Company of Britain to look for oil in offshore and submerged areas not covered in the ADPC concession. Abu Dhabi Marine Areas (ADMA), a multinational consortium, took over this concession in 1955. The company made its first commercial strike in 1958, and production and export started in 1962. In 1977 ADMA and ADNOC agreed to form the Abu Dhabi Marine Areas Operating Company (ADMA-Opco) for offshore work. In the late 1980s, ADNOC owned 60 percent of ADMA-Opco; Japan Oil Development Company, 12.0 percent; BP, 14.7 percent; and CFP, 13.3 percent. Offshore fields included Umm ash Shayf, Az Zuqum, Sath ar Ras Boot, Dalma, and Umm ad Dalkh. The island of Das, northeast of the island of Dalma, became the center for offshore operations.

Unlike most gulf countries, as of the end of 1992 Abu Dhabi had not claimed 100 percent ownership of its oil industry. ADNOC was established in 1971 and, in addition to holding majority shares in Adco and ADMA-Opco, was involved in producing, refining, distributing, and shipping gas. ADNOC owned 51 percent of the Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company, whose Das facility has sent most of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to Japan since 1977. In 1988 the Das facility produced nearly 2.5 million tons of LNG from offshore fields. ADNOC also holds 68 percent of Abu Dhabi Gas Industries, which extracts propane, butane, and condensate at the Ar Ruways plant from associated gas produced by the onshore Bu Hasa, Bab, and Asab fields.

Abu Dhabi's refining, at plants in Umm an Nar and Ar Ruways, is also controlled by ADNOC. Total refining capacity in 1991 was 185,000 bpd, of which 100,000 bpd was available for export. Marketing and distribution are carried out by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for Distribution, an ADNOC subsidiary. To buy refineries and gas stations in Europe and Japan, ADNOC and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority formed a joint venture, the International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC). In 1989 IPIC held a 20 percent share in a Madrid-based refining company.

The amirate's exports are pumped through terminals at Jabal az Zannah and on the island of Das. There is a smaller terminal at Al Mubarraz.

Data as of January 1993