The UAE is planning to launch regional oil benchmark
The UAE government-led ADNOC, long regarded as one of the Middle East’s most conservative oil companies, plans to revise its trading activities to mimic the success of large oil companies and strengthen its regional influence.
The company has made great efforts to hire out former employees of private companies, and may want to introduce a regional oil benchmark similar to international Brent and WTI markers this year, four sources familiar with the plans.
The plan is yet to be determined and has yet to be approved by the UAE authorities, such as the Abu Dhabi Supreme Council of Petroleum.
ADNOC did not respond to a request for a comment.
“ADNOC hopes the benchmark will allow it to earn more money and gain bigger prestige in the region. This all fits into a drive by (Abu Dhabi Crown Prince) Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed to turn the UAE into a regional leader,” said one source.
The United Arab Emirates, after Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the third largest oil producer in the organization of the oil exporting countries, pump around 3 million barrels a day. Production is to be increased to 4 million bpd by 2020. Most of this oil is produced by ADNOC in the state capital of Abu Dhabi.
For many years, oil has traditionally been sold directly to end users, mainly in Asia, following a retroactive pricing system instead of forward pricing applied by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.
Now, as part of the energy sector reforms under Sheikh Mohammed and ADNOC Director-General Sultan al-Jaber, the company intends to complete full internal trade in refined products and raw materials.
The reforms are set to go further than Saudi oil giant Aramco, which also wants to expand its trading activities to add value.
Currently, Aramco trades only in oil products and non-Saudi crude oil.
ADNOC is considering lifting restrictions on its total oil and allowing free trade on the open market as part of a wider transformation to become more pro-active and adaptable to market changes.