Camels, dhows, oil, and jets - Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) celebrated its new structure at the Abu Dhabi Headquarters on Sunday morning in a ceremony heavy with national symbolism.
An estimated 3,000 people across Abu Dhabi participated in celebrations for one of the largest national employers, which will now include 16 subsidiaries and joint ventures under its name.
Celebrations began with vintage black and white footage of camels plodding through the sands of Abu Dhabi and ended with gold fighter jets whizzing overhead in a ceremony that reinforced the company’s central role in rapid national development.
An opening speech by Adnoc's group chief executive Sultan Al Jaber looked to the future.
“We must always look for ways to further improve and evolve our company, respond responsibly to the demands of the global energy industry and ensure we meet our national interests,” he said.
“Inspired by our nation’s journey and compelled by our unique mandate, I am very pleased to announce that from today we are bringing our people, business, products and services together under one unified Adnoc brand.”
Adnoc’s new structure will increase brand equity and reinforce the 2030 integrated strategy to unlock value, said Mr Al Jaber.
“We have benchmarked this strategic decision against the most respected brands in the energy sector and we are very confident that bringing the group together under one brand will significantly enhance the visibility and positioning of the Adnoc group,” he said.
“This move represents an exciting chapter in Adnoc’s history. It will highlight the real scale of our business, the true size of our contribution and the extent of our impact.”
He spoke to scores of employees gathered at Adnoc headquarters on the Abu Dhabi Corniche. They stood waving Adnoc flags under banners of Abu Dhabi’s Rulers.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, tweeted his support.
“Unifying the Adnoc Group of companies under one corporate identity is the right step at the right time,” he wrote. “It will enable our biggest national company to leverage its strengths and reinforce its competitiveness.”
“Unity and focus across out companies will strengthen their effectiveness and enable them to play a greater role in our national development. To keep pace with changing times, agile companies must focus on maximizing value and investing in people to strengthen performance.”
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Throughout Sunday’s ceremony, the master of ceremonies reminded employees to use Snapchat and the tag “We are Adnoc”, a play on the popular patriotic hashtag, “We are the Emirates”. The Arabic hashtag had more than 4,000 tweets on Sunday.
Employers watched a video tracing the company’s development from the first shipmen of crude oil departing Das Island in 1962. Another featured dhow sailing on the Corniche, while a third showed prominent officials praised Adnoc’s unifying role across the seven emirates.
“I cannot recall any development without mentioning Adnoc in it,” said Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, president of the Federal National Council. “Adnoc is part of the DNA of the economy.”
Suhail Al Mazroui, the Minister of Energy, said, “You will not find a family in Abu Dhabi who does not have a relative working in Adnoc.”
Comments emphasised the role of women in all sectors. “I am very proud to see women wearing their engineering uniforms,” said Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs.
In May 2016, Adnoc had 50,000 employees. Many in attendance had work at Adnoc throughout their adult lives.
For employees like Jordanian Anan Hamatto, the event was about national pride.
“It’s a big thing. Our company is an international name now,” said Ms Hamatto, 44, who works in marketing at an Adnoc subsidiary. “Adnoc represents the UAE to the world. It’s our achievement. For me, I’m working 17 years and I dreamed of the day we’d be with the parent company.”
Due to its reputation for professional development and prestigious name, working for Adnoc has become a family tradition in many Emirati families.
At age 12, Hassan Mohammed knew he wanted to be either a petroleum engineer or a pilot. With two older sisters already working in Adnoc, he enroled in the Adnoc Technical Institute at age 15 to study instrumentation engineering. He and his classmates arrived at the ceremony in their blue coveralls.
“It’s the best place to work, with the best salaries and positions,” said Mr Mohammed, who is now 18. “If you want to build your future, Adnoc is the best.”
The ceremony ended with a flyby of Al Fursan, the aerobatics display team of the UAE Air Force. The seven gold and black Aermacchi MB-399A jet aircraft soared past the Emirates Palace, painting a blue and white heart in the sky above the Abu Dhabi Corniche. It was the first time the team had performed for a corporation.