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UAE's main state oil company eyes partnerships, share float

Posted July 10

— The United Arab Emirates' main state oil company said Monday it is seeking to create joint ventures with international investors and is considering floating shares in some of its businesses in an effort to raise billions of dollars and create more jobs locally.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., or ADNOC, said it is considering an initial public offering for minority stakes in some related services businesses, though it ruled out for now floating shares in the overall company, which will remain owned by the Abu Dhabi government.

The company said other plans include creating a regional drilling company, a new "energy infrastructure venture" that bundles select assets, and further opening up its refinery and petrochemical operations to outside investors.

UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said the moves aim to generate higher revenues and create more jobs for Emiratis. In a statement, the company also stressed these initiatives "will bring significant benefits to the UAE and its citizens."

"Most importantly, it will create new, high-skilled jobs and attractive career opportunities," it said.

Abu Dhabi holds the bulk of the oil wealth in the seven-state Emirates federation, one of OPEC's largest crude producers. The company produces around 3 million barrels of oil per day and 9.8 billion cubic feet of gas per day.

A company press release Monday sad global energy demand is shifting to the East, and that this change means a rapid increase in demand for products derived from hydrocarbons — petrochemicals, plastics and polymers. In October, it announced plans to combine two major offshore divisions to streamline its operations amid a slump in oil prices.

The drop in oil energy prices since mid-2014 increased pressure on the UAE to find new ways to raise non-oil revenue, such as lifting some petrol subsidies and introducing value-added tax next year.

In the UAE and other Arab Gulf countries, citizens prefer to work for the government, where wages and perks are generous. In recent years, however, Gulf governments curbed public sector hiring in the face of tighter budgets as jobs across the region's oil and gas sector were also slashed.

ADNOC's plans follow a decision by Saudi Aramco, the state oil company of neighboring Saudi Arabia, to sell shares for the first time for a minority stake in its business. That IPO isn't expected to happen before next year at the earliest and is aimed at generating greater revenue for the government's public investment fund.

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