Adnoc looks to new markets to boost profit

07 November 2016

Firm has undertaken a raft of measures to reduce costs and streamline production

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) plans to diversify the portfolio of its products, and is looking for new markets to offset the impact of persistently low oil prices, according to a top company executive.

Adnoc, which oversees Abu Dhabi’s hydrocarbons reserves and manages distribution of finished products, can leverage its strategic position between the east and west and closer proximity to the world’s fastest-growing markets, the firm’s CEO, Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, told the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (Adipec) in Abu Dhabi on 7 November.

“Markets such as Asia, where demand for oil is expected to increase by 15 per cent and the market for petrochemicals is set to double by 2030,” Al-Jaber, who is also the UAE’s state minister, said of the potential targets.

Adnoc has undertaken a raft of measures to reduce costs and streamline production under Al-Jaber, who took charge of the company in February.

In October, Adnoc announced it would merge its two largest offshore producers into one entity by early 2018. Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (Adma-Opco) will be merged with Zakum Development Company (Zadco) to create a company with an estimated capacity of 1.2 million barrels.

Another merger – estimated at $125bn – is that of International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) and Mubadala Development Company, announced in late June. The timeline for the merger was not available, but the new entity will be a hybrid of refining and distribution as well as manufacturing.

In May, the company let go of 5,000 employees in response to a nearly 50 per cent decline in global oil prices.

Abu Dhabi which accounts for about 6 per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves, had cut back spending in response to oil’s drop from a mid-2014 peak of $115 a barrel to the current less than $50 a barrel. However, Al-Jaber said Adnoc will continue “sound, strategic and targeted investments that are critical and essential to enable sustainable growth”.

“We will expand its refining capacity, we will build on our petrochemicals industry and we will stretch the margin from every barrel we produce,” he said, adding that in the new energy era, companies will have to reflect on how to make the most of their resources, improve performance and find new ways to be more competitive.

“We must define our own destiny instead of [it being] dictated by externalities,” said Al-Jaber

On 3 November, the Supreme Petroleum Council – Abu Dhabi’s highest oil and gas governing body – approved Adnoc’s five-year plan to boost oil production and increase downstream capacities by 2018.

Under the approved plan, Adnoc will increase production by 400,000 barrels a day (b/d) to 3.5 million b/d in 2018. According to secondary source data from Opec, the UAE produced 2.95 million b/d in August 2016.

The approval of the strategy comes weeks before Opec producers are set to convene in Vienna to discuss production cuts to stabilise oil prices.

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