The world will still rely on oil and gas for many decades to come and the UAE is investing to further reduce the carbon intensity of its barrels, according to Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
This came in remarks he made during the 5th Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum, which is taking place virtually as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).
Oil and gas will play an important role in the transition to a lower-carbon future and should be at the center of the conversation on climate change, Al Jaber noted, state news agency WAM reported.
"Here the UAE has a dual advantage: a leadership that has always put environmental protection first, and a natural advantage because our geology gives us some of the least carbon-intensive oil in the world. And we are building on this position by reducing our carbon intensity by a further 25 percent over the next 10 years, by enhancing efficiencies and expanding our industrial-scale CCUS facility, which is the first and largest in the region," he noted.
Al Jaber highlighted that the UAE is exploring the potential of new fuels such as Hydrogen which could be "a game-changer in the energy transition."
ADNOC already produces about 300,000 tons of hydrogen a year as part of its current industrial processes, and the "company is exploring the viability of markets in Asia, and Europe and will build the business case as those markets develop, to position the UAE as a major supplier of Blue Hydrogen."
He went on to call for smart investments in new energies to create a viable diversified energy mix and explained how the UAE is diversifying its energy mix as it drives sustainable development and combats climate change.
"The UAE has always made positive contributions to global challenges and the challenge of climate change is no different. This is the ethos that guided us to launch Masdar 15 years ago and to shape it into becoming a clean technology hub and the permanent home to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
"Masdar is an active investor in renewable energy in the UAE and around the world, with projects in 30 countries, including right here in the UAE. So we not only talk the talk, we walk the walk and we’ve seen first-hand, how smart investment in diversifying the energy mix can pay off," the Minister said.
Concluding the session, Al Jaber shared his perspective on how to balance the need for economic development in emerging economies with the need for global and universal climate action.
"I fundamentally believe that we can accelerate progress on climate change goals while ensuring climate change goals are met if we avoid one size fits all policies. Efforts to curb climate change must take into account the varying rates of economic development around the world.
"Reducing carbon is something we can all agree is a common goal, but it should not undermine the ability of emerging economies to give their people a better future. We need to create the right mechanisms in terms of funding, energy mix and broader economic development that strikes the right balance."