Illustration; Source: ADNOC

ADNOC’s decarbonisation journey picks up speed with new net-zero target

UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has decided to step up its decarbonisation efforts by accelerating its net-zero plans. As a result, the UAE giant has brought forward its net-zero ambition to 2045 and aspiration to reach zero methane emissions by 2030, which marks a new chapter in its transformational journey to a lower carbon future.

ADNOC’s accelerated decarbonisation plan to bring forward its net-zero ambition to 2045 from its previous target of 2050 and to achieve zero methane emissions by 2030 was approved by Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, who chaired a meeting of the executive committee of the UAE player’s board of directors at the firm’s headquarters. ADNOC claims to be the first company in its peer group to speed up its net-zero target to 2045.

Illustration; Source: ADNOC

The meeting was also attended by Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and ADNOC Managing Director and Group CEO; Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure; Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State; Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director and Group CEO of Mubadala Investment Company; and Jassem Mohammed Buatabah Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance.


Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince highlighted ADNOC’s role as a key enabler of the UAE’s updated nationally determined contribution (NDC), which raises the ambition of the country’s nationwide emissions reductions to 40 per cent by 2030, as well as the firm’s role in supporting the UAE’s recently updated Energy Strategy 2050, its new National Hydrogen Strategy and Abu Dhabi’s Climate Change Strategy. 

Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan notes that ADNOC’s employees are crucial to delivering on its decarbonisation plan and points out that people are the nation’s greatest asset, thus, the UAE will continue to prioritise human capital development.

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During the meeting, the executive committee called on ADNOC to seek new global partnerships with other progressive energy companies, customers, and technology players to collaborate on and boost its decarbonisation plan. This announcement comes after ADNOC established a Low Carbon Solutions and International Growth Directorate last year to identify opportunities and drive forward its decarbonisation plans.

Many believe 2023 is a pivotal year for countries to increase both ambition and action on the clean energy transition front, thus, the upcoming COP28 climate summit in Dubai is seen as a crucial moment to agree on concrete steps to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C within reach.

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While renewables are portrayed as the future, many also agree that oil and gas, especially LNG, will be required for decades to come to fuel this transition process and met the world’s energy demands. The UAE is also working on ramping up its hydrocarbon production capacity, which includes plans to increase its crude oil production capacity to five million barrels per day by 2030.

Furthermore, ADNOC is also dedicated to lowering its emission footprint, thus, the firm placed sustainability at the heart of its long-term strategy, including the decarbonisation of its operations, investing in renewables, building a global hydrogen value chain, deploying innovative climate technology solutions and advancing nature-based solutions such as planting mangroves in the UAE.

The company’s upstream carbon intensity performance was around 7 kg CO2e/boe in 2022 while its methane intensity was about 0.07 per cent. The firm was also awarded the Gold Standard Pathway by the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership 2.0.

In addition, ADNOC achieved greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions of approximately 4 mt last year by using grid energy from solar and nuclear power to supply 100 per cent of its onshore operations as well as around 1 mt from energy efficiency and flaring reduction projects.

The UAE giant claims that these results, independently assured by DNV, place it in the top tier of lowest carbon intensity oil and gas producers in the world. ADNOC’s commitment to sustainability and decarbonisation dates back to the company’s founding.

Building on billions of dollars of investments in decarbonisation and sustainability projects since its inception, the UAE player recently made an initial allocation of $15 billion to expedite the implementation of its key decarbonisation initiatives, including carbon capture and storage, electrification, energy efficiency, and nature-based solutions. Over the coming months, the company intends to reveal further investments and associated projects that will enable it to meet its updated decarbonisation targets.

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ADNOC also plans to drive the global growth of renewable energy and green hydrogen through its shareholding in the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), which is a renewable energy company, targeting a portfolio of more than 100 GW of renewable capacity and the production of one million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030.

ADNOC’s decarbonisation plan includes a $3.8 billion, first-of-its-kind at scale project, connecting its offshore operations to clean grid power, which will reduce its offshore carbon footprint by up to 50 per cent. It also includes building a 1 million tonnes per annum low-carbon ammonia production facility to help its customers to decarbonise. 

Additionally, the company started two pilot projects to deploy climate technologies to capture and permanently store carbon dioxide as part of its plan to expand its carbon capture capacity to 5 million tonnes per annum by 2030.

This builds on ADNOC’s carbon capture and storage facility, Al Reyadah, which became the world’s first commercial-scale operation to capture emissions from the steel industry when it was completed in 2016. The facility, with the capacity to capture 800,000 tonnes of CO2, played “a pivotal role” in advancing carbon capture technology and reducing emissions from industry, says the UAE giant.