Dubai's Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc) plans to expand in the region after the UAE deregulated fuel prices, lifting financial pressure on the company, it said on Wednesday.
The firm has struggled in recent years, losing hundreds of millions of dollars annually because it was obliged by UAE rules to sell gasoline at a fraction of international market rates.
But the UAE government said this month it was abandoning fixed, subsidised fuel prices and would let gasoline and diesel prices float in response to global trends. In August, the price of a litre of octane 95 gasoline will climb 24 per cent while diesel will fall 29 per cent.
Enoc, which is owned by the Dubai government and operates service stations, fuel terminals and oil tankers as well as a refinery, said in a statement that it would now look at accelerating plans to enter "new geographies regionally".
"With the Ministry of Energy having deregulated oil prices, this decision will now enable us to move forward with our expansion plans," it said without elaborating.
Banking sources said in February that Enoc had hired a five-person team to work on mergers and acquisitions as it sought to expand beyond Dubai.
The company secured a $1.5 billion, nine-year loan from 21 banks in June to support its growth.