Oil and gas should be part of UAE’s COP28 talks as they’re still needed: minister
Discussions during COP28, to be held in the UAE in 2023, should include input from oil and gas experts because the world can’t unplug suddenly from the current energy system, the UAE’s minister of Industry and Advanced Technology said.
The UAE, OPEC’s third biggest producer, is hosting COP28 at a time when the country’s top energy producer Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. is seeking to boost its oil production capacity to 5 million b/d by 2030 from about 4 million b/d now. ADNOC says the world will need its oil because it is low-cost and low-carbon.
“We want to successfully transition to the energy system of tomorrow,” Sultan al-Jaber, who is also UAE’s special envoy for climate change and ADNOC CEO, told an Atlantic Council virtual event. “We can’t simply unplug from the energy system of today and we can’t do this with a flip of a switch. We need to include the energy experts in the consultations and in the discussions and we need to make economic systems work more efficiently with much less carbon.”
Officials in the UAE, the first country in the Middle East to make commitments toward zero carbon emissions by 2050, have argued that producing the least carbon intensive energy can go in parallel with lowering emissions and developing renewable energy and clean hydrogen.
The UAE’s 2050 pledge was followed by similar commitments from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to reach zero emissions by 2060.
“Our goal by undertaking these activities and these initiatives is to hold back emissions, not to hold back progress or economic development,” said Jaber. “As long as the world continues to rely on oil and gas, we can play a very critical role in helping to ensure reliable supplies of the least carbon intensive oil and gas and we can make sure that this is available to the market where it is needed.”
Jaber’s comments are in line with statements from Saudi officials including Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, who has said energy transition should not be disruptive to the world.
“Look at what is happening in the so-called transition that is happening elsewhere, it is disruptive,” the Saudi energy minister told the virtual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week summit on Jan. 17.
“If it is disruptive to the economy, if it is disruptive to sustainability, if it is disruptive to the well-being of the citizens here and there and elsewhere, it should be reconsidered.”
Energy security should remain a top priority for the world, which should focus on cutting emissions and not excluding various energy sources, the prince added.
“Let’s not be picky and choosy about what solution or what energy source — if you want inclusiveness you have be comprehensive. What matters the most is reduction of emissions by all,” he said.