Pragmatism has guided Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (Adnoc) since its formation in 1971. It explains the relative complexity but smooth operation of the company's holdings today. Adnoc was formed in the same year as the emirate that owns it. Abu Dhabi became a sovereign state when the U.K. withdrew as protector of the old Trucial Coast sheikhdoms, creating the United Arab Emirates. That was 13 years after the first oil discovery in what is now Abu Dhabi, which is the U.A.E.'s major oil

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