Maximum energy with minimum emissions can ensure global energy security, an Emirati minister said during the 38th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition Conference (ADIPEC) 2022.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology noted that the conference comes at a “pivotal” moment.

“The solutions we agree on and the commitments we will make help shape the future of our world because today, more than ever, energy is everybody’s top priority,” he said during the opening ceremony.

Dr Al Jaber noted the global energy landscape is going through a “perfect storm”, and the economy is on a “knife’s edge”.

“Global supply chains continue to be fragile, geopolitics are now more complex, fragmented and polarised than ever, inflation is rising, and interest rates are pushing up the cost of borrowing and investing,” said the Managing Director and Group CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

The four-day conference is held under the patronage of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Facing an unpredictable future and looming threats of a global recession, Dr Al Jaber consulted the UAE President to decide whether to dwell on the challenges or focus on the opportunities in his opening remarks.

“A few days ago, as I was briefing and updating our President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, I asked for his advice. His response was reassuring. He told me: ‘We cannot ignore the realities on the ground. We need to face them. We don’t shy away from challenges. We address them by adopting a positive mindset and by working out solutions with like-minded partners.’ And then he added: ‘And remember, pursuing progress is in our DNA.’”

Dr Al Jaber noted his message was one of “realism and also optimism” and noted that now is not the time to point out that long-term under-investment in oil and gas has made a difficult situation even worse as “the data is clear”.

“If we zero out hydrocarbon investment due to natural decline, we would lose five million barrels per day of oil each year from current supplies. This would make the shocks we have experienced this year feel like a minor tremor. If this year has taught us anything, it taught us that energy security is the foundation of all progress – economic, social and climate progress.”

Dr Al Jaber noted that the solutions the world needs are also “major opportunities” for everyone.

“Our world is on its way to being home to 9.7 billion people by 2050; to meet their needs, the world will have to produce 30 per cent more energy than today. And as we meet that need, we will be helping to bring electricity to almost 800 million people who don’t have it today. We will also be helping to transform the lives of the 2.6 billion people who have no access to clean cooking and heating fuels.”

The minister said that the world needs all the solutions it can get.

“It is not oil and gas, or solar, not wind or nuclear, or hydrogen. It is oil and gas and solar, and wind and nuclear, and hydrogen. It is all of the above, plus the clean energies yet to be discovered, commercialised and deployed. The world needs maximum energy, minimum emissions. This is why our leadership decided to be a first mover in renewable energy, over 16 years ago by launching Masdar. It’s why we were the first country in the region to deploy nuclear power. And it is why ADNOC is making today’s energy cleaner while investing in the clean energies of tomorrow.”

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office and Chairman of the Executive Committee of ADNOC’s board of directors, ministers, senior government officials and chief executives from the global energy industry were present during the opening ceremony.

“At ADNOC, we have connected our operations to zero carbon nuclear and solar power. We are electrifying our offshore operations to cut their carbon footprint in half. And we are pressing down harder and harder on our methane intensity, even though we already have one of the lowest levels in the world. Maximum energy, minimum emissions.”

Dr Al Jaber underlined that moving forward, technology will be one of the greatest enablers of the oil and gas industry and this is an area where the industry can amplify and accelerate its impact.

“Take carbon capture and storage. It is one technology we can take to scale, not just in our industry but across all industries. And then there is hydrogen. Just a few days ago, I saw the first shipment of ammonia arrive from the UAE to Hamburg Germany. It felt like a historic moment. It was a first step in creating a hydrogen value chain and an important step in taking yet another opportunity for our industry.”

Dr Al Jaber said global efforts should focus on a new, bold, realistic and pragmatic pathway that benefits humanity, the climate and the economy, with the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) meeting in Sharm El Sheikh next week and as the UAE prepares to host the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28).

“We need to hold back emissions, not progress. The world is looking for solutions and I believe the energy industry can unite a divided world in finding them. I believe that the future is forged by those who make the first move. So today, I extend an open invitation to all our partners and friends around the world. Let’s make that move together and forge that future.”