Wed 20-01-2021 13:18 PM
ABU DHABI, 20th January, 2021 (WAM) -- The UAE is looking forward to working closely with the Biden Administration on global efforts to mitigate climate change while accelerating post-COVID Economic Recovery, according to Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
Dr. Al Jaber made the comments during the 5th Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum, which is taking place virtually as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).
Dr. Al Jaber said, "Our strategic alliance with the U.S. is also very strong. As both our countries emerge from the pandemic, I believe there are great opportunities for collaboration across the energy sector and a variety of other sectors. Starting with energy, we have key concession and exploration partnerships with ExxonMobil, Occidental and Baker Hughes, among others.
"Near term, there is room for deepening cooperation around unconventional oil and gas, which we are discovering in Abu Dhabi. And there are very clear opportunities to build on our cooperation in efficiency-enhancing technologies, new energies such as Hydrogen, carbon capture, and renewable energy – all of which will provide practical solutions to climate challenge. "
Dr. Al Jaber was speaking during an interactive session with Amos Hochstein, the former U.S. Special Envoy and Coordinator of International Energy Affairs.
Oil and gas will play an important role in the transition to a lower-carbon future and should be at the center of the conversation on climate change, Dr. Al Jaber stated. He emphasised the world will still rely on oil and gas for many decades to come and the UAE is investing to further reduce the carbon intensity of its barrels.
"Here the UAE has a dual advantage: a leadership that has always put environmental protection first, and a natural advantage because our geology gives us some of the least carbon-intensive oil in the world. And we are building on this position by reducing our carbon intensity by a further 25 percent over the next 10 years, by enhancing efficiencies and expanding our industrial-scale CCUS facility, which is the first and largest in the region," he noted.
Dr. Al Jaber highlighted that the UAE is exploring the potential of new fuels such as Hydrogen which could be "a game-changer in the energy transition."
ADNOC already produces about 300,000 tons of hydrogen a year as part of its current industrial processes, and the "company is exploring the viability of markets in Asia, and Europe and will build the business case as those markets develop, to position the UAE as a major supplier of Blue Hydrogen."
Dr. Al Jaber went on to call for smart investments in new energies to create a viable diversified energy mix and explained how the UAE is diversifying its energy mix as it drives sustainable development and combats climate change.
"The UAE has always made positive contributions to global challenges and the challenge of climate change is no different. This is the ethos that guided us to launch Masdar 15 years ago and to shape it into becoming a clean technology hub and the permanent home to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
"Masdar is an active investor in renewable energy in the UAE and around the world, with projects in 30 countries, including right here in the UAE. So we not only talk the talk, we walk the walk and we’ve seen first-hand, how smart investment in diversifying the energy mix can pay off," the Minister said.
He noted that when Masdar was established in 2006, solar and wind were high-cost, nascent energy sources. Last year, the UAE set a new record for low-cost solar energy with a tariff of 1.35 cents per kilowatt-hour at the world’s largest solar park which was launched in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra region.
Reinforcing the UAE’s commitment to mitigating climate change, Dr. Al Jaber pointed out that the country was the first in the region to sign the Paris Accords. He added that following the submission last month of the UAE’s second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it has become the first country in the region to commit to an economy-wide emission reduction.
He underlined the importance of the UAE’s close multifaceted strategic relationship with the U.S. and highlighted that the UAE and the U.S. have a deep-rooted and longstanding relationship based on shared values and strategic interests and expressed optimism on the potential to further strengthen the relationship across multiple sectors.
"The UAE-US relationship is multifaceted, covering diplomacy, security, energy, trade and culture. In short, we are very aligned in terms of promoting peace, creating opportunity and enabling prosperity. The Abraham Accord is a prime example. With U.S. diplomatic support, we created a bridge for the first time between Israel and the Gulf countries and this agreement is already growing economic opportunity for the whole region.
"Outside of energy, as our economy diversifies, I see significant potential for investment in our emerging manufacturing, biotech, health and agri-tech sectors, particularly as more and more US PE and investment firms are discovering the UAE as a stable, well-governed, business-friendly investment destination. In addition, I would like to see us collaborate more closely on AI and advanced technology – expanding partnership with our new AI University MBZUAI and other research centers here in the UAE," the Minister continued.
Concluding the session, Dr. Al Jaber shared his perspective on how to balance the need for economic development in emerging economies with the need for global and universal climate action.
"I fundamentally believe that we can accelerate progress on climate change goals while ensuring climate change goals are met if we avoid one size fits all policies. Efforts to curb climate change must take into account the varying rates of economic development around the world.
"Reducing carbon is something we can all agree is a common goal, but it should not undermine the ability of emerging economies to give their people a better future. We need to create the right mechanisms in terms of funding, energy mix and broader economic development that strikes the right balance."
The UAE Minister said the UAE will continue leading as a responsible global citizen and use its convening power to advance global progress.
The Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum has been convened in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure. The event is taking place virtually from January 19th-22nd, gathering international and regional political, industry and thought leaders to examine the longer-term geopolitical and geo-economic implications of the changing energy system.