The replacement of CEOs across six of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s (Adnoc) operating companies is the latest in a series of sweeping changes taking place at the top of the UAE’s oil and gas sector as it faces the impact of prolonged lower crude prices.

Adnoc announced, in an internal email seen by MEED, it has appointed new CEOs at companies including the country’s largest upstream oil producer Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations (Adco) as well as other crude producing, gas processing and petrochemicals joint ventures.

The changes started in February when Sultan al-Jaber was announced as the new director-general of Adnoc replacing Abdullah al-Suwaidi who had led the firm since 2011.

At the end of March there was a reshuffle at the highest body in the UAE’s oil and gas sector, the Abu Dhabi Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC). Al-Jaber was named as a new member of the SPC, while royal family member Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed al-Nahyan was also appointed.

Al-Jaber has now brought in new leaders to the majority of the key joint venture companies through which Adnoc produce and processes oil and gas, in addition to the country’s largest petrochemicals group Borouge.

The new CEO of Adco – which produces over half of the UAE’s crude oil – was revealed as Saif Ahmed al-Ghafli. He had previously led Adnoc joint venture Al Hosn Gas to develop the region’s first major sour gas project at the onshore Shah field.

This time last year, Adnoc said it would cut operational expenditure by 10 to 15 per cent. At the same time there have been a number of projects shelved or delayed due, according to MEED sources, to Adnoc attempting to reduce engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) prices.

Abu Dhabi recently cancelled a tender to build a gas treatment plant on Das Island as part of its Integrated Gas Development Expansion (IGD-E) due to bid prices coming in too high, sources told MEED.

Adnoc aims to boost crude production capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day (b/d) from an estimated current level of just over 3 million b/d.

Al-Jaber and is operating heads now face the challenge of hitting Adnoc’s oil and gas production targets while facing the financial constraints that come with lower prices and smaller revenues. The director-general will hope to bring the UAE’s biggest company out of the oil price slump as a leaner, more efficient company.