History - Drilling

Our History

Our History

Established in 1972, ADNOC Drilling was the first fully-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and was set up with a mission to drill wells to enable ADNOC to unlock the UAE’s vast reserves of oil and gas for the benefit of the nation. 

The company acquired its first rig, AD-1, in 1973, which can be seen today outside ADNOC Group's modern headquarters on  Abu Dhabi's Corniche.


National Drilling Company (NDC)

ADNOC Drilling was created by Emiri Decree in 1972 as the first fully-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Group company. Originally known as the National Drilling Company (NDC) until 2017, the company was set up with a mission to drill wells to enable ADNOC unlock the UAE’s vast reserves of oil and gas for the benefit of the nation.


Acquisition of First Rig

The company acquired its first rig, AD-1, in 1973. The rig can be seen today outside of ADNOC Group's headquarters on the Abu Dhabi Corniche.


Decades of Expansion

The 1970s and 1980s were a period of robust expansion as the company added more rigs to its fleet, for both onshore and offshore fields.


National Leadership

By the turn of the millennium in 2000, the company committed to recruiting more Emirati staff for operational and leadership roles. Today, more than 90% of our operational senior positions are held by Emiratis.


Evolution of Service Offering

In 2010, ADNOC Drilling began providing electric well logging services to support its drilling operations.


Drilling Training Center in Al Dhafra

In 2014, the company established its specialized Drilling Training Center in Al Dhafra region to upskill and multi-skill its drilling crews.


Strategic Partnership

The strategic partnership between ADNOC and Baker Hughes, a leading international drilling services business that acquired 5% of ADNOC Drilling in 2018, enabled the company to transform into the region's first national Integrated Drilling Services (IDS) company by enhancing its Oil Field Services equipment, technology and manpower capabilities.


Record Breaking

In 2021, ADNOC Drilling drilled the Middle East’s longest well at 45,000 feet, while also recording a record-breaking 21-years of operations without Lost Time Incident (LTI) on its land rig AD-17.


Public Listing

ADNOC Drilling becomes a publicly traded company in October 2021, when it lists 11% of its shares to institutional and individual investors on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) as part of an Initial Public Offering (IPO). The IPO includes the formation of a strategic alliance and a cornerstone investment with drilling industry leader Helmerich & Payne (H&P).

Pioneers' Memories

As the bedrock of ADNOC operations for more than 50 years, ADNOC Drilling has been a significant enabler of the spectacular growth of ADNOC and the UAE. 

This has been made possible by our dedicated employees. Over three generations, our people have helped to build the company into what it is today, the largest national drilling company in the Middle East by rig fleet size with 120 onshore, offshore and island drilling rigs.

Suleiman Al Maskari

Former ADNOC Drilling Assistant General Manager

In the beginning it was all about drilling because you have to drill the well to get the oil out. It had such a big role then and still does. At first, we thought we would have maybe eight or ten rigs. Now there are over 90, billions of dirhams of assets. We even had our own rigs built in the UAE, creating even more value for the country. It is a great company.

Fouad Silin

Drilling Team Manager

Every time I walked around the drilling rig helideck, I saw the sea, the sky, the boats, the choppers in the air and the activity we were doing on the rig. I realized how important what we were doing was for the diesel in the ships, the fuel in the helicopters and the lights in Abu Dhabi. Everything we were doing on that rig was a source for this success.

Ahmed al Mansouri

Drilling Team Manager

Drilling was like a symphony of music. We drillers know this feeling like a sixth sense. If you are feeling this music, this sense, you are a driller. There was so much excitement when you were drilling, waiting for that moment of reaching oil or gas, holding your breath. It was like looking for gold. And, when you broke through to a reservoir you felt such pride in your rig, your company and your country.