The world's efforts to address climate change through an energy transition must include oil and gas in the mix after a period of six or seven years of underinvesting in resources, particularly hydrocarbons, that is now causing prices to climb, the CEO of the UAE's Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. said Oct. 23.
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"This is a big lesson learned. We need to shift gears, we need to go back to the drawing board," Sultan al-Jaber, who is also the UAE's minister of industry and advanced technology, told the inaugural annual Saudi Green Initiative conference in Riyadh. "While we accept the advancement or very aggressive, ambitious approach to a cleaner future supported by an energy mix, we must also include oil and gas because that is going to be mainstream and it's going to be the spinal cord of our ability to meet the global energy requirements in the future."
The UAE has its own aspirational clean energy goals even as it ramps up its crude production capacity, having recently announced a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The country holds the world's eighth largest oil reserves, according to BP's latest Statistical Review of World Energy, the vast majority located in Abu Dhabi.
Jaber's comments came ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference scheduled to begin Oct. 31 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Abu Dhabi officials have outlined plans to generate half of the emirate's energy from clean and renewable sources, including nuclear power, by 2050. This would enable the UAE to meet its climate targets under the UN Paris Agreement, while freeing up more crude oil for profitable export and diversifying its economy.
To that end, ADNOC and Mubadala have signed agreements with IOCs, such as Eni and TotalEnergies, to explore joint hydrogen, CCUS and renewables projects.
ADNOC has also struck several deals to sell blue ammonia, derived from hydrogen, to companies in Japan.
"We must accept the fact that an energy transition is simply a transition, and it's going to take time," Jaber said.