Oil and gas giants told to provide the energy to create decarbonised future

The president elect of COP28 has said oil and gas companies must play a leading role in the drive towards decarbonisation.

Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, (above) UAE minister of industry and advanced technology and COP28 president-designate, has said the oil and gas industry holds the key to the COP28 Presidency’s Action Agenda to fast-track the energy transition and keep 1.5C within reach.

Speaking at the opening of ADIPEC 2023, one of the world’s largest oil and gas energy conference, Al Jaber reiterated calls on industry to “step up, align around net zero by or before 2050, zero-out methane emissions, and eliminate routine flaring by 2030”.

He highlighted recent progress and action from over 20 oil and gas companies, including both international and national oil companies (IOCs and NOCs), which have “positively answered the call” to take the challenging but achievable steps to curb emissions from the production of energy.

Al Jaber said, “This took time, effort and many months of hard work, negotiation and collaboration. We are counting on many more to come onboard and start taking action to decarbonise further and faster. I urge everyone to make this commitment at COP28, a COP where I am calling on everyone to set the highest ambitions, follow through with practical actions and deliver real results.”

Al Jaber issued his call to action at the beginning of ADIPEC 2023, the largest and most inclusive energy industry gathering.

He told delegates that for too long, the oil and gas industry has been viewed as part of the problem, that it is not doing enough and, in some cases, even blocking progress. “This is your opportunity to show the world that, in fact, you are central to the solution.”

Noting the scale of the climate challenge Al Jaber stated that “the world must reduce emissions by at least 43 percent over the next 7 years to keep 1.5 within reach. And that is our north star. It is our destination. It is simply respecting the science. And we must do this while also ensuring human prosperity by meeting the energy needs of the planet’s growing population.”

He highlighted three key areas that he was prioritising, including: curbing emissions from the production of energy, scaling up renewables, and decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors, such as steel cement, aluminium and heavy transportation.

Discussing the immediate steps that he expects the oil and gas industry to take, Al Jaber explained: “Eliminating methane leaks and flaring is the fastest way to make the biggest impact on operational emissions in the short term.”

He said the oil and gas industry has a critical role  in scaling up renewables, highlighting how they represent “an opportunity for this industry to diversify and future proof its business models.”

Acknowledging that intermittency meant renewables were not a viable solution for heavy emitting industries, Al Jaber emphasised the need to find low-carbon solutions to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors, such as steel, cement, aluminium, and heavy transportation.

“We know that solutions exist, and all industries can and must respond,” he said. “But they can’t act alone. Governments should be proactive in setting the right demand signals and dealing with critical issues like permitting.”

He also stated the need to “overcome the hurdles to scale up and commercialise hydrogen and carbon capture technologies.”

Speaking of his intention to underpin everything at COP28 with full inclusivity, Al Jaber said that “everyone must be around the table to make the transformational progress needed, and especially the energy industry. No other industry has the same ability to manage complexity, depth of knowledge, engineering talent, technology, capital, and scale that is needed for the task at hand.”

Al Jaber said his vision was to “reimagine the relationship between producers and the heaviest consuming countries and sectors. Since March, I have been convening heavy emitting sectors alongside the energy industry, governments, civil society, NGOs, scientists, technologists and the financial community to accelerate decarbonisation.”

Speaking of the need to “create a pro-climate, pro-growth future”, Al Jaber continued that “it is a historic opportunity for growth and innovation. In fact, it represents the largest economic opportunity since the first industrial revolution.”

“It’s time to turn rhetoric into results, ambitions into action, pilots into scalable projects. It is time to unite, it is time to act, and it is time to deliver,” he added.