The UAE’s transition to a net-zero future

The UAE’s transition to a net-zero future

We also set up new emerging energy sources like ammonia. Three cargos—test cargos—were sent to Asia and to Europe. Also, today we are sourcing 100% of grid power from zero carbon, solar, and nuclear energy, ensuring energy efficiency improvement across our operation. And we also apply, of course, nature-based solutions with the planting of millions of mangrove trees. We also recently allocated $15 billion investments to progress various projects across our diversified value chain in the low carbon solutions. So as I mentioned earlier, we’re going to expand our CO2 capture capacity by 500%. We are going to further electrification of our operation, $3.8 billion [allocated] to electrify offshore operation, representing up to 50% reduction in CO2 intensity. We are implementing energy efficiency programs. We are also taking the new measures to build on ADNOC’s long-standing policy of zero routine gas flaring. We’re growing our investments in blue hydrogen, a new world scale, 1 million ton per annum, low carbon ammonia plant at TA’ZIZ.

And we are also a major shareholder in the Abu Dhabi future energy company, Masdar, which currently has a capacity of over 20 gigawatts of renewable energy, which is enough to power over 5 million homes and plans to grow this to well over 100 gigawatts by 2030. On the R&D front, almost 80% of our projects are dedicated to sustainable growth. For example, we are exploring ways to harness the power of geothermal energy and taking concrete steps to mature the hydrogen value chain and hydrogen technologies going forward. So there are a lot of sets of technologies that we are optimistic to see them maturing and addressing the decarbonization agenda.

Laurel: And Your Excellency, how is the United Arab Emirates decarbonizing and greening existing industries and supply chains? For example, how important is the country’s regulatory landscape and standards infrastructure?

Her Excellency, Sarah Bint Yousif Al Amiri: The UAE is tackling this from a different perspective based on the maturity of industries. So first, from the perspective of existing industries, mature industries and industries that are typically known to be carbon producers. We’ve got different methodologies to ensure that this becomes a whole-of-supply chain effort. We’re looking at every part of the value chain, and I can give you an example of utilizing carbon capture systems in hard to abate industries where we have a very good and scalable program to decarbonize our steel production with Emirates Steel partnered up with both ADNOC and Masdar to capture and utilize up to 800,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year. And that’s just one mechanism by which we are approaching carbon capture. Another mechanism is to utilize and embed across our different policies. So we’ve got the in-country value program along with our integrated technology transformation program that includes an industrial technology transformation index that has sustainability as one of the key pillars of technological transformation.

And what it does is effectively looks at efficiencies, looks at mechanisms to cut out carbon production, re-utilize it within the system, ensure that materials are being utilized to the maximum of their capacity, ensure that waste is being reduced and all of that is being utilized through both digitization mechanisms, Industry 4.0 technologies, better informed production processes. And from a policy perspective, we’re also going to the level of consumers to ensure an end-to-end mechanism that not only focuses on production and industries on both upstream and downstreams, but also looks at a comprehensive utilization and transportation of key industrial, both from a raw materials perspective and also from a production perspective and end product perspective.

From a policy perspective as well, within our operation, there are 300 billion sustainabilities embedded  across all pillars and utilized as a mechanism to develop new industries. And what this does is transform decarbonization at scale from an economic burden to a market opportunity and gives us a whole-of policy efforts to be able to drive new industries, then become the utilizers of a lot of the offtake that comes from existing industries and allows us to better integrate our ecosystem towards creating the necessary impact and outcome. Then comes our policies that now look at what is beyond the current technologies and current industries and its advancement across different sectors. And that ensures a whole-of nation holistic approach to the right policies, the right metrics, the right mechanisms to enable our carbon-neutral agenda and ensure that industries are playing a vital role in this important transition.

Laurel: Thank you. Mr. Al Kaabi, beyond traditional emissions reduction efforts like forestation, there is a need for higher rates of CO2 removal. ADNOC recently allocated $15 billion to projects, as you mentioned, that will help accelerate its low carbon goals. What are some of the latest research and development investments into CO2 removal, like carbon capture and storage (CCS), that ADNOC is pursuing, and how do they complement the UAE’s overall sustainability goals?

Mr. Musabbeh Al Kaabi: The importance of CO2 removal cannot be understated. In January this year, a coalition of researchers published a report urging a rapid scale up of carbon dioxide removal technologies. It found that of the 2 billion tons of CO2 being removed from the atmosphere each year through human intervention, only 0.1% currently comes from carbon dioxide removal initiatives. In order to avoid the worst effects of warming, the study said that we need to increase the rate of carbon removal from the atmosphere by a factor of 30 over this decade and a factor of 1,300 by 2050. Across ADNOC, we are implementing and piloting various forms of CCS and carbon dioxide removal technologies. As mentioned, our facility captures up to 800,000 tons of CO2 per year from the Emirates steel industry. At Fertiglobe, we capture CO2 and use it to make urea. Earlier this year, we announced that we will also take the excess carbon dioxide captured from Fertiglobe’s UAE operations and inject 100% of it in Abu Dhabi’s onshore carbon aquifers. It’ll be the world’s first fully sequestered CO2 injection pilot.

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