All You Need to Know About ADNOC SPC Approvals

All You Need to Know About ADNOC SPC Approvals

- James Elliot-Square

What is the Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) Approval?

SPC (Supreme Petroleum Council) approval authorises a company with the activity of “Onshore and Offshore Oil & Gas Field & Facilities Services” and is required when a company would like to work with ADNOC or any company attributed to ADNOC. The Supreme Petroleum Council was established under law No. (1) of the year 1988 and is responsible for structuring and regulating petroleum related policies, objectives and activities in Abu Dhabi. The Council also functions as the ADNOC Board of Directors and is responsible for the business’ strategy and financial performance.

Why do you need ADNOC / SPC Approval?

Companies looking to deal directly with any companies related to the Oil and Gas sector in Abu Dhabi require SPC Approval on their trade license. SPC approval is mandatory for all companies dealing with Oil and Gas companies operating in Abu Dhabi, regardless of the main activities they are trading with. This approval is compulsory to issue CICPA (Critical Infrastructure & Coastal Protection Authority) security passes which provides access oil field and critical infrastructure sites.

Who requires SPC Approval?

Any company looking to work with ADNOC either directly or with any of the attributed companies in the Oil & Gas sector in Abu Dhabi require SPC approval. SPC approval is mandatory on the trade licence for the company to apply for tenders and/or succeed in gaining work from ADNOC or their attributed companies.

How can I apply for ADNOC SPC Approval and CICPA passes?

  1. An LLC Company or Foreign Branch will need to be set up in Abu Dhabi with a DED Trade Licence and Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce licence with the activity of “Onshore and Offshore Oil & Gas Field & Facilities Services” on the licence, plus the relevant business activities of the company.
  2. The SPC approval will form part of the DED company formation process.
  3. Once the SPC approval is obtained on the initial licence then the full DED Licence will be issued.
  4. The company can then apply for employment visas under this same company.
  5. The company can then apply for CICPA passes for those staff members.
  6. Note that only employees of the Abu Dhabi company or branch are eligible for CICPA passes. Temporary employment passes for employees not employed by the Abu Dhabi entity will not be able to obtain CICPA passes.

For more detailed steps and requirements for ADNOC approval please speak to a member of the PRO Partner Group Team.

How much does an SPC approval cost?

There are no fees charged by the Supreme Petroleum Council for applications, however, DED fees will apply.

Who can apply for ADNOC / SPC?

Any company can apply for ADNOC / SPC approval, however, there are strict guidelines of who will actually be granted with this special activity. A company who wishes to apply will need to be an Onshore LLC, with a 51% SPC approved local partner, or a Foreign Branch with an SPC approved National Service Agent (NSA). Some Dual Licences and Freezone Branches can obtain the SPC activity on the Trade Licence, but restrictions and special requirements apply. It is advised to set up as an Onshore Abu Dhabi Company or Foreign Branch to ensure your eligibility to work with ADNOC.

Can Freezone companies apply for SPC approval?

In general, the answer is no however an MOU was signed between Supreme Petroleum Council and Masdar City allowing for registered companies of the Masdar City freezone to apply for SPC approval, however, there are special conditions:

  • The company’s headquarters must be based in Masdar City
  • There is a mandatory AED 10,000 annual fee applicable in addition to company license fees
  • The company must rent office space of 100 sq.m minimum in Masdar City

Note that other Freezones in Abu Dhabi have also signed an MOU with Supreme Petroleum Council and can apply for SPC approval – namely twofour54 - the media Freezone, and ADGM - the financial freezone. Special conditions will also apply for these freezone to obtain SPC approval. Please ask us for further information on this.

What is an ICV Certification?

It has recently become vital to have an ICV (In Country Value) certification to successfully tender approvals and work within ADNOC. The ICV matrix calculates the exact value, which the company gives to the UAE as a whole. Tenders will be awarded on priority, based on which company provides the higher scores as a reward to pledging more infrastructure to the UAE market.

How can PRO Partner Group assist you?

PRO Partner Group are experts at company and branch formation in Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE. We can assist you with the SPC approval application process efficiently. For more information on setting up a company to obtain ADNOC / SPC approval, CICPA passes, ICV Certification or any other related UAE Oil & Gas query please contact us on +971 (0)2 448 5120 or email

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