UAE investment law to apply selectively, won’t hurt locals -officials

A picture taken on March 14, 2018 shows the skyline of Dubai with the Burj Al-Arab (R) in the foreground and Burj Khalifa (L) in the background. (AFP)
Updated 08 October 2018
0

UAE investment law to apply selectively, won’t hurt locals -officials

DUBAI: A new law allowing 100 percent foreign ownership of companies in the United Arab Emirates will only apply to some sectors of the economy, limiting the risk that it could disrupt existing business, Dubai investment officials told Reuters.
The UAE cabinet, chaired by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, said in May that it would permit 100 percent foreign ownership of some UAE-based businesses, up from the current 49 percent limit, by the end of 2018.
Few details of the law have been revealed so far. But Raed Safadi, chief economic adviser at Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, said on Monday that it would only apply to “strategic sectors” of the economy.
This means it will not damage the interests of UAE citizens who currently benefit from acting as silent partners in foreign-invested businesses, Safadi said.
In fact, the new law will create opportunities for UAE citizens because “they have a lot to offer in terms of knowledge of local markets, the networks and the connectivity,” he added.
Fahad Al-Gergawi, chief executive of the Dubai Investment Development Agency, said: “We are not targeting the sleeping partners’ businesses, because these are small businesses. We are targeting strategic, impactful businesses which will leave their fingerprints on the economy and create a meaningful impact on jobs, technology, and boost imports and exports.”
Special business areas in Dubai known as “free zones,” which already permit 100 percent foreign ownership, could also be affected by the new law, because they will lose one of their unique advantages.
Safadi said, however, that Dubai’s free zones had unique business models which made them individually attractive, and that they were adjusting to “structural pressures” presented by the new law.
Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Center, a free zone focused on commodities trade, said free zones were diverse enough to cope with the law.
“You are looking at a big market, representing over 15,000 businesses, and almost 100,000 people live and work there...People go there not just for the 100 percent ownership and the tax-free facilities that we provide; they go there to be connected to the market, to not miss out,” he said.
Foreign direct investment commitments to Dubai rose 26 percent from a year earlier to $4.84 billion in the first half of 2018, according to official data.


Adnoc signs deal with Eni on Ghasha concession

Updated 13 November 2018
0

Adnoc signs deal with Eni on Ghasha concession

  • ADNOC grants Eni 25 percent stake in ultra sour gas project
  • Follows Adnoc award to France's Total

LONDON: The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has granted the Italian oil company Eni a 25 percent stake in an off-shore gas mega-project, in a move that will support the emirate’s efforts to become self-sufficient in gas.
The energy company is now in discussions with other potential partners for the remaining 15 percent of the available 40 percent stake in the concession earmarked for foreign companies.
The award covers the Ghasha ultra-sour gas concession just off the coast of the UAE, including the Hail and Dalma and other offshore fields. Eni will contribute 25 percent of the development cost of the project which is likely to cost billions of dollars.
The deal comes just days after ADNOC awarded a 40 percent stake to French oil firm Total on Nov. 11 to explore and develop its Ruwais Diyab unconventional gas concession.
The Ghasha gas fields are estimated to hold trillions of standard cubic feet of recoverable gas, according to a company statement.
Once on stream, the project is expected to produce more than 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day. This could provide enough gas to supply electricity to more than 2 million homes, said ADNOC.
The project is set to produce 120,000 barrels of oil and high-value condensate per day once complete, the company said.
“ADNOC is committed to ensuring a stable and economic gas supply to the UAE, which is a core component of our 2030 strategy,” said Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, UAE minister of state and ADNOC group CEO.
“Development of our Hail, Ghasha and Dalma ultra-sour gas offshore resources, at commercial rates, will make a significant contribution towards delivering that strategic imperative and bringing forward the day when the UAE will not only be self-sufficient in gas but also transitions to net exporter of gas,” he said.
Eni won its first concession rights in the emirate’s oil and gas sector earlier this year, with Adnoc granting the Italian firm a 10 percent interest in its Umm Shaif and Nasr concession and a 5 percent stake in the Lower Zakum concession in March.
“We are pursuing a strategy of growing in the Middle East and today’s signature is further confirmation of our willingness to root our presence in Abu Dhabi,
following the agreements signed last March, with Adnoc,” said Eni CEO, Claudio Descalzi, in a statement.
ADNOC is exploring opportunities beyond Abu Dhabi, having also signed a framework agreement with the Uzbek energy company, Uzbekneftegaz on Tuesday.
The agreement will see the Gulf company provide advice on Uzbekistan’s upstream and downstream operations.