Energy has emerged as one of the few cross-border sectors to traverse the complexities of geopolitics, economics, and the green agenda while retaining a meaningful impact on businesses and consumers.
Its far-reaching effects have meant a more public debate surrounding the energy transition, the effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the decision-making strategies of OPEC, and more recently, the future of the petro-dollar.
From the perspective of the energy sector, shifting geopolitics has at least provided one topic on which almost all companies can agree — the importance of where to incorporate.
Historically, many prominent players opted to be closer to their energy source or nearest financial centre, resulting in the US, the UK, Switzerland, and Singapore becoming regional centres, with some even offering tax incentives.
DMCC positions itself at the center
With increasing volatility and the uncertainty of balancing future sustainability with current supply and demand, many businesses have been forced to take a broader view of the global landscape and understand which countries can provide the corporate staples of a clear and transparent legal and regulatory framework, favourable taxation, political and economic stability, market access, infrastructure, and logistics.
As a long-favoured regional centre for some of the world’s largest companies, Dubai has grown to be a major global centre for trade, finance, and tourism. However, it is its commitment to fine-tuning the business environment to support the development of multinationals that have seen its status migrate from hub to headquarters.
Recognised as the 'Global Free Zone of the Year' for eight consecutive years, DMCC has sat at the centre of this transition by cultivating an environment that epitomises Dubai’s economic strategy to attract and support businesses. However, its unwavering, long-term strategies have made it a centre for the global energy community.
Since its early days, DMCC understood the functional importance of all energy producers, and while the transition towards a sustainable future is crucial, its measured and nuanced approach is an essential part of avoiding mass shortages. Or as currently being experienced in Europe, sky-high prices to the end consumer.
1,500 sign-ups in 3 years
As a result, DMCC began engaging in partnerships as early as June 2007, when it signed an agreement with EcoSecurities to cut down on carbon emissions in the emirate. Or half-a-year later, in January 2008, when it agreed with Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas to help develop clean energy in the region.
Today, the free zone is home to 3,026 energy companies, 1,517 of which joined within the past 3 years; making the sector DMCC primary stakeholder from its 23,000 plus member base and a central part of its wider strategy to develop a centralised ecosystem that not only offers a competitive environment, but extended facilities to support trade, innovation, and community building.
DMCC’s members include Aramco Trading, a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, Mercuria, Petronas, Monjasa and Trafigura, and while each has a different reason for incorporating, the broad answer from several C-suite members has been its ecosystem and the fact that the community is populated with experienced energy experts.
Other comments included its competitiveness with other energy centres in terms of cost-of-living and ease of doing business and accessibility, both in terms of raw materials and new fast-growth markets.
Speaking on behalf of Yellow Door Energy, one of the region’s leading sustainable energy partners, the country director for the UAE and Oman, David Provenzani, said: "Yellow Door Energy celebrates its eighth anniversary this year, and we're honoured to have been headquartered in Dubai since 2015.
“We established our DMCC entity in 2017 and have thoroughly enjoyed housing our office in the beautiful Jumeirah Lakes Towers neighbourhood. We selected DMCC and overall JLT to be our base thanks to its proximity to the industrial zones, where most of our customers are located, its convenient metro access, which aligns with our company's sustainability commitment, and the overall professionalism and prestige carried by the DMCC name.
“Dubai is a fantastic destination for business, in particular for energy companies. The emirate spearheaded a visionary net metering scheme in 2015, and today, the UAE is a leading sustainability champion. With COP28 on the horizon, we are honoured to be a Dubai-founded and headquartered sustainable energy company, helping UAE businesses achieve their carbon reduction targets whilst remaining competitive and resilient.”
Roger Bernstein, board member, DMCC Authority, highlighted, “DMCC offers an unmatched combination of free zone Status, which affords its members' full exemption from corporate and personal income tax, state-of-the-art commercial and residential facilities, and a commodity-focused business environment.
"An entrepreneurial spirit pervades DMCC. This is manifested via DMCC-sponsored networking events, business clubs, and industry-focused conferences."
Through DMCC’s Energy Club, members are given the opportunity to interact, discuss and share knowledge while gaining access to the latest data provided through S&P Global Commodity Insights, while benefitting from the aforementioned list of corporate benefits, which are now more valuable than ever.
Access to fast-growing economies
As a designated free zone, DMCC offers 100 per cent foreign ownership with no restrictions on the repatriation of capital and profits while remaining exempt from personal and corporate income taxes. As part of its regulatory framework, it also provides a fully supportive environment, including set-up procedures, licensing processing, and a well-defined legal system that protects the rights of businesses.
Added to its strategic location, which has shown remarkable resilience over the past three years, energy companies also benefit from maintaining direct access to some of the world's fastest-growing economies while leveraging DMCC's highly developed infrastructure, including world-class offices, warehousing, and logistical facilities – all set against the backdrop of Dubai's broader infrastructure of high-quality hotels, restaurants, housing, entertainment, and recreational activities.
DMCC's overarching strategy has successfully demonstrated that by listening to the requirements of its customers and providing immediate solutions, it is not only able to grow but, more importantly, retain its members by consistently delivering value as its No. 1 priority.
As the UAE draws ever nearer to hosting COP28 and showcasing its vast investment in supporting the delivery of our collective energy needs, DMCC looks forward to expanding its community and welcoming new partners that share its outlook for the new era of energy generation.