UAE, US vow stronger energy ties, commitment to climate action
Dr Sultan Bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Special Envoy for Climate Change and Group CEO of Adnoc, on Friday met virtually United States (US) Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, to discuss how to build on and accelerate the work the two countries are doing to accelerate climate action ahead of the Leaders’ Summit on Climate to be convened in Washington DC next week.
Dr Al Jaber shared his views on how investments in new technology and research and development (R&D) across the diversified energy mix can encourage low carbon, sustainable economic growth throughout the region.
Coming after the US and the UAE signed a joint statement focused on joint efforts on renewable energy, hydrogen, industrial decarbonisation, carbon capture and storage, and other mitigation tools and technologies, the discussion focused on how the two countries can further strengthen their energy partnership to enhance low carbon growth.
“The UAE believes there is a sound business case for progressive climate action, which can deliver more economic growth with fewer emissions,” Dr Al Jaber said, adding “As the world will still rely on hydrocarbon fuels for decades, it is essential to ensure they are produced responsibly and are as low carbon as possible. The UAE is one of the least carbon-intensive producers in the world, and we are investing in technology to build on this distinct competitive advantage.”
He went on to say. “Just as in the US, climate considerations are at the core of decision-making in the UAE, including domestic policy, foreign policy and national security.”
The discussion touched on the UAE’s climate leadership as an early investor in successful renewable energy projects both within the UAE and around the world. The discussion also focused on the UAE’s development of new zero-carbon fuels, such as hydrogen that have the potential to play a significant role in the energy system in the next twenty years.
Dr Al Jaber explained how Adnoc is leveraging its hydrocarbon infrastructure to develop blue hydrogen, while also exploring green hydrogen through the Abu Dhabi Hydrogen Alliance.
Dr Al Jaber noted that Adnoc has pioneered the use of industrial-scale carbon capture technologies with the first CCUS facility in the region. The Al Reyadah CCUS facility currently can capture 800,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. ADNOC plans to expand its capacity at least six times by 2030 and is willing to share its experience with any country to help take this important technology to scale. The meeting with Granholm comes on the heels of the recent visit of US Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, to Abu Dhabi for the regional climate dialogue the UAE hosted, where regional leaders pledged bold action in the run-up to the COP26 meeting in Glasgow this November.
During his visit, Kerry had the opportunity to visit some of the major renewable energy assets, including Noor Abu Dhabi, the largest single-site solar plant in the world.
At the conclusion of the regional climate dialogue, both countries announced their intent to cooperate on new investments in financing decarbonisation across the Mena region and beyond, and to focus on assisting the most vulnerable countries as they adapt to the effects of climate change.
Separately, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said on Thursday that Adnoc is keen to explore the hydrogen market with India’s public and private sectors to support India’s growing demand for energy and need for cleaner fuels.
Speaking during a High-Level Ministerial Session at a virtual Hydrogen Roundtable organised by The Energy Forum (TEF) in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI) and India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), Dr Al Jaber reinforced the strong economic ties between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India. “India and the UAE enjoy a very special relationship that is underpinned by deep-rooted bilateral ties across multiple sectors. Today, India is one of our biggest and most important trading partners, particularly in the field of energy. And as India’s demand for energy grows, we stand ready to help meet that demand by making the full portfolio of our products available to the Indian market.” “However, at the same time, we recognize that the world and India for that matter require more energy with fewer emissions. And as we collectively navigate the global energy transition, we believe Hydrogen offers promise and potential as a genuinely zero-carbon fuel. Granted Hydrogen is still in its infancy, it could be a game-changer and a real opportunity to accelerate the broader energy transition. An opportunity that Adnoc and the UAE are well placed to capitalise on.”
Dr Al Jaber said, following remarks by Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Dr Al Jaber noted that Adnoc currently produces about 300,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year as part of its current industrial processes. He expressed optimism that alongside the company’s existing infrastructure and commercial-scale Carbon Capture Utilization Storage (CCUS) capabilities, it can become a major player in the developing blue hydrogen market.