Global Witness says ADNOC will spend more than $1 billion a month on oil and gas for years

  • The UAE oil giant run by the head of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP28) is expected to spend more than $1 billion a month this decade on fossil fuels, according to a new analysis by Global Witness.
  • The international non-governmental organization said that the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) plans to spend an average of $1.14 billion per month on oil and gas production alone between now and 2030.
  • ADNOC, which recently became the first among its peers to advance its net zero ambition until 2045, is skeptical of this analysis.

Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and chair of this year’s COP28 Climate Summit, during an interview as part of the Seventh Ministerial Meeting for Climate Action (MoCA) in Brussels on July 13, 2023.

Francois Walcherts | ap | Getty Images

UAE oil giant ADNOC — which is run by the president of the COP28 climate conference — is expected to spend more than $1 billion a month this decade on fossil fuels, according to new analysis by international NGO Global Witness.

The research says this is about seven times higher than its commitment to decarbonization projects over the same time frame.

ADNOC, which recently became the first among its counterparts to provide its services Zero net ambition until 2045questions the Global Witness analysis and says the assumptions made are inaccurate.

This comes ahead of the COP28 climate summit, when Dubai is set to host the annual United Nations conference from November 30 to December 12. Seen as one of the most important climate conferences since the landmark Paris Agreement of 2015, COP28 will see world leaders gather to discuss how to progress in combating the climate crisis.

The person overseeing the talks, Sultan Al Jaber, is the CEO of ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) – one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world. His position as chair of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP28) and CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has sparked discontent among civil society groups and civil society organizations. US and European Union legislatorsAlthough many government ministers have since done so defend set it.

The Global Witness analysis, provided exclusively to CNBC, found that ADNOC plans to spend an average of $1.14 billion per month on oil and gas production alone between now and 2030 – the same year the United Nations takes office. He says The world must cut emissions by 45% to avoid a global catastrophe.

This means that ADNOC is expected to spend nearly seven times as much on fossil fuels as it does on “low carbon solutions” projects through 2030.

By 2050, the year in which the United Nations He says The entire global economy must achieve net zero emissions, and ADNOC is expected to invest $387 billion in oil and gas. The burning of fossil fuels is the main driver of the climate emergency.

“The analysis and assumptions made regarding ADNOC’s capital spending program beyond the company’s current five-year business plan (2023 to 2027) are speculative and therefore incorrect,” an ADNOC spokesperson told CNBC via email.

Abu Dhabi Energy Group announce And in January this year, it announced it would allocate $15 billion to invest in “low-carbon solutions” by 2030, including investments in clean energy, carbon capture and storage, and electricity projects.

High-rise buildings along Sheikh Zayed Central Road in Dubai on July 3, 2023.

Karim Sahib | ap | Getty Images

Global Witness reached its forecast by analyzing ADNOC’s projected capital expenditures on oil and gas, exploration capital expenditures and operating expenditures for the period from 2023 to 2050. The data was obtained from Rystad Energy’s UCube database.

Rystad’s data is not publicly available, but it is widely used and referenced by major oil and gas companies and international bodies.

“Fossil fuel companies like to burnish their green credentials, but they rarely say the quiet part out loud: They keep dumping massive amounts of the same ancient polluting oil and gas that is accelerating the climate crisis,” said Patrick Galle, lead investigator. in Universal Witness.

“How (Al-Jaber) can expect to be lecturing other countries on the need to take decarbonization seriously is anyone’s guess, while he continues to provide far more financing for oil and gas than renewable alternatives,” he added.

“He’s the boss of the fossil fuel industry, plain and simple, saying one thing while his company is doing another,” Galle said.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the analysis by Global Witness. The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Al Jaber is the founding CEO of the Abu Dhabi government-owned Masdar Renewable Energy Company, which operates in more than 40 countries around the world and has invested or committed to invest in renewable energy projects with a total value of more than $30 billion.

Al Jaber spoke earlier this year He said The main priority of COP28 will be to sustain the struggle to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The Paris Agreement aims to limit the increase in the global average temperature to “well below” 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Beyond the critical temperature threshold of 1.5°C, small changes are likely to transform the entire life support system on Earth.

The International Energy Agency says no new oil, gas or coal development is compatible with the target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

In response to a request for comment from CNBC, an ADNOC spokesperson said that energy demand is increasing with the growth of the world’s population. “All current energy transition scenarios, including those from the International Energy Agency, show that a certain level of oil and gas will be needed in the future,” the spokesperson said.

“As such, it is important, in addition to accelerating investments in renewables and low-carbon energy solutions, that we consider and reduce their less carbon-intensive sources of energy than oil and gas to enable fair, equitable, regulated and responsible energy. This is the approach that Followed by ADNOC.

The spokesperson said preliminary emissions data for 2022 confirmed the energy group as one of the least carbon-intensive producers worldwide. They added that the company would seek to reduce carbon intensity by 25% and target methane emissions close to zero by 2030.

“As we reduce our emissions, we are also increasing investments in renewables and carbon-neutral energies such as hydrogen for our customers,” said the spokesperson.

Separate report published And in April of last year, Global Witness and Oil Change International concluded that 20 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are expected to spend $932 billion by the end of the decade to develop new oil and gas fields.

At the time, it was estimated that the Russian state corporation Gazprom spent the most on fossil fuel development and exploration projects until 2030 ($139 billion), followed by US oil companies Exxon Mobil ($84 billion) and Chevron ($67 billion).

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