If 2023 has seemingly been a year of announcements around major energy players slowing their transition away from oil as well as governments such as the UK ‘watering down’ climate policies, the organizers of ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi were determined to showcase the positives around how the sector plans to unite to achieve net-zero goals by mid-century.
ADIPEC anchored around the theme ‘decarbonizing, faster, together’, and new to the event was an area called the ADIPEC Decarbonization Accelerator area showcasing organizations, projects and solutions driving decarbonization at scale.
In five years, ADIPEC has come a long way on the united front to decarbonize the sector. From discussions around ‘Oil and Gas 4.0’ and the beginnings of an Energy Transition movement in 2018 to a net-zero call to action by the UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Group CEO of ADNOC and President-designate of COP28, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber.
Speaking at this year’s event, Dr. Al Jaber called for fossil fuel-based businesses to ‘step up, align around net zero by or before 2050, zero-out methane emissions and eliminate routine flaring by 2030’.
Looking to lead the way in the region, ADNOC plans to reduce its operational carbon emissions intensity – emissions per barrel of oil or cubic foot of gas – by 25 per cent by 2030 and achieve Net Zero emissions from its upstream operations by 2045.
To achieve this, while at the same time increasing oil and gas capacity, ADNOC will have to commit to technologies such as carbon capture. During this year’s ADIPEC, ADNOC doubled its carbon capture target to 10 million tons per year by 2030, signed a deal with Oxy (an American energy company) to capture carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere (a million ton per year plant, one of the largest sites outside the US) and doubled down on carbon capture from its Hail and Ghasha Offshore Development Project, awarding contracts that will enable a capture of a further 1.5 million tons.
As ‘decarbonizing, faster, together’ suggests, this is a team game. The investment into decarbonization must come from many sources throughout the energy value chain.
A knock-on effect for energy industry suppliers It was evident during a walk around the exhibition halls that those companies that provide compressors, valves, drill bits and other oilfield tools that enable oil production are also investing in low-carbon solutions and alternatives. But that R&D and manufacturing all costs money.
You just have to ask the team at Lamprell, who invested heavily during the 2000s in creating a world-class yard to fabricate structures for both the oil and gas and renewables sectors. Lamprell is particularly focused on offshore wind in its renewables division and has been producing Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) substructures since 2017, alongside their more traditional EPCI modules, rig construction and rig refurbishment capabilities.
This year, they commissioned an automated renewables production line, allowing for the serial fabrication of monopiles and transition pieces for wind turbines. A capital-intensive diversification into renewables that has thankfully been successful, by 2024-25 Lamprell will have stamped ‘Made in the UAE’ on hundreds of wind turbine generator components, including transition pieces, jackets, suction buckets and piles for the East Anglia ONE, Moray East, Moray West and Seagreen wind farms in the UK.
Saving up on cash
Meeting friends, peers and clients over ADIPEC’s four days, I heard frequently that ‘it’s been a good year but not a great year like we were expecting’. Rising oil prices and stronger balance-sheets have increased capital outlay of NOCs, but most IOCs and independents are still maintaining capital discipline.
Rising oil prices and stronger balance-sheets have increased capital outlay of NOCs, but most IOCs and independents are still maintaining capital discipline.
This has a knock-on effect throughout the value chain.
Energy executives, such as OPEC Secretary-General Haitham Al Ghais and Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure emphasized throughout the week a need to increase investment within the oil and gas sector over concerns of an undersupplied market in the longer term, given the global growing oil and gas demand.
So, the ‘energy trilemma’ remains: how do energy sector companies operating within countries that have committed to net-zero help to provide energy that’s affordable, clean (i.e., decarbonized and sustainable) and secure for all – whilst remaining profitable. ‘Cautiously, decarbonizing, faster, together’.