Abu Dhabi: International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), the Abu Dhabi-based oil and chemicals foreign investment group, has handed over the chairmanship of Gulf Energy Maritime (GEM), the Middle East's largest independent commercial product tanker operator, to Dubai-based Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc).

In accordance with a shareholders' agreement, the chairmanship rotates every three years between IPIC and ENOC – two of GEM's major shareholders.

"Mohammad Al Mehairi's tenure as GEM's chairman was characterised by global recognition from within the maritime industry. More importantly, it was also during his tenure that GEM's fleet grew quite significantly with the delivery of the most number of vessels in a single year," said Ahmed Al Falahi, CEO, GEM, as he spoke on behalf of GEM's board of directors.

Saeed Abdullah Khoory, Enoc's Group Chief Executive, has over 30 years of experience in the oil sector, spent between Adnoc and Enoc, will prove beneficial for GEM as he also brings in a huge wealth of industry experience.

His appointment also comes at an important time when GEM's ships and cash reserves indicate strong years ahead in terms of business and finance.

As the new chairman, Khoory will now oversee strategies required for the $1 billion company as it steps into its seventh year of continued growth.

GEM's fleet has tripled from six vessels since inception in 2004 to its current fleet of 17. In addition, two more vessels, both Aframaxes, are scheduled for delivery in 2012.