London — The oil company ran by COP28 chief Sultan al-Jaber is on course to increase the emissions from its oil and gas operations by more than 40 percent by 2030 compared to 2023 – almost the exact opposite of what the United Nations and the world’s leading climate scientists say is needed to cap heating at 1.5C.
Fields operated by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) are projected to produce more than 1.3 billion barrels of oil and nearly 90 billion cubic metres of gas in 2030 alone, according to Global Witness analysis of industry data from Rystad Energy. We calculate the end use emissions of these products — that is, when they are burned for energy or processed by industry — to be 684 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Using this production data and industry metrics on product carbon dioxide intensity, we calculate that oil and gas produced by fields ADNOC operates is likely to emit up to 487 million tonnes of CO2 this year. This would mean ADNOC’s carbon footprint is on course to be 40.5 percent higher in 2030 than currently. In order to keep the Paris Agreement temperature goal of 1.5C within reach, the UN says emissions must fall 43 percent by the end of the decade.ii
Reacting last month to the UN’s Global Stocktake, which measures countries’ progress on climate action, Al-Jaber explicitly called for “ambition and urgency to reduce emissions by 43 percent by 2030”. Speaking this week at the opening of an energy conference in Abu Dhabi, he said that delivering a 43-percent cut in emissions “over the next seven years… is simply respecting the science.”
ADNOC recently brought forward a planned vast increase in fossil fuel production capacity, aiming to be able to produce 5 million barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2027.
Patrick Galey, senior fossil fuels investigator at Global Witness, said: “After the Global Stocktake the consensus is clearer than ever: emissions must fall 43 percent by 2030. Sultan al-Jaber, while apparently sharing this consensus, is CEO of an oil company that is on course to increase its emissions by virtually the same amount.
“At a time when we need a rapid, equitable and widespread reduction in the pollution we produce, Al-Jaber presides over a firm that is planning an oil and gas production bonanza. This Jekyll and Hyde presidency of crucial climate negotiations is now a critical concern.
“The need for everyone to pull in the same direction in order slash emissions and safeguard a liveable future for all of us has never been clearer. Keeping the boss of a fossil fuel company heading in the exact opposite direction as president of COP28 looks more baffling by the day.”
An ADNOC spokesperson said:
“We recognise the climate imperative and welcome constructive dialogue in support of practical solutions. However, the analysis by Global Witness is misleading as it makes no distinction between production capacity and actual production. Inaccurate speculation is divisive and unhelpful, and our collective focus should be on working collaboratively to accelerate the transition to net zero.”
Global Witness disputes ADNOC’s claim that this analysis is inaccurate. The analysis focuses specifically on projected production – that is, the expected, annualised rate of hydrocarbon extraction from oil and gas assets operated by ADNOC – and not capacity. Unlike its projected extraction of oil and gas, which this analysis focuses on, ADNOC’s planned production capacity is in the public domain.
- The data on ADNOC’s operated oil and gas emissions for 2023-2030 were sourced from energy business intelligence agency Rystad Energy’s UCube database. UCube is an integrated field-by-field database of the global upstream oil and gas market, covering the time span from 1900 to 2100. Rystad’s data is widely referenced by major oil and gas companies, the media and international bodies such as the IEA.
- Using Rystad we ascertained that ADNOC’s operated production will amount to 1.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent in and 87.88 billion cubic metres of gas in 2030
- UCube takes into account oil and gas demand to project asset-level supply. Projections are based on data sources including company reporting (e.g., earnings and profits reporting) and policies, government sources, energy service reporting, energy agencies and academic research and news articles. Where reported data is unavailable, data is modelled based on the above sources and supported by a comprehensive database of global oil and gas fields.
- We sourced the data of operated production from 2019-2030. The data includes all assets that are currently producing, those under development (assets for which development has been approved but production has not yet started), discovery (assets where discoveries have been made, but are not yet in a phase of further development) and undiscovered (assets where discoveries have not yet been made)
- The data covers only crude oil and gas production, not NGL and condensate, making these conservative production estimates. Please note that the carbon emissions relate to end-use emissions only; it does not include the upstream emissions that arise from oil and gas production
- We based our emissions calculations on values taken from the European Investment Bank’s 2023 Carbon Footprint Methodologies to arrive at overall end use (Scope 3) emissions volumes from ADNOC’s operated oil and gas production
Patrick Galey, Senior Investigator
Alexander Kirk, Communications Advisor, Fossil Fuels