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LONDON: According to Global Witness, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) - headed by COP28 president Sultan Al-Jaber - is on course to become the second largest oil producer in the world by 2050.

Using industry data sourced from business intelligence agency Rystad Energy, the NGO says the total assets operated by ADNOC are projected to produce 35.9 billion barrels of oil between the start of 2023 and the end of 2050.

By contrast the combined output of Shell, BP and TotalEnergies is expected to produce 24.1 billion barrels. Only Saudi Aramco – at 100.5 billion barrels - is projected to produce more than the UAE national oil company.

Global Witness said it determined ADNOC’s production between 2023-2050 using 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.

As a result the forecast emissions from only ADNOC’s operating oil products will consume nearly six percent of the world’s remaining carbon budget in order to limit warming at 1.5˚C above preindustrial levels.

“Sultan al-Jaber’s appointment at the helm of critical UN climate talks has rightly prompted scrutiny of his firm’s business model,” commented Global Witness senior investigator on fossil fuels Patrick Galey. “These findings show how, irrespective of the outcome of COP28, ADNOC plans to produce more oil than nearly every operator on the planet and plans to vastly increase its output – in direct contravention of the scientific consensus around which Al-Jaber is mandated to build negotiations in Dubai.”

ADNOC responded to the NGO’s analysis by saying it was “inaccurate as it does not make any distinction between production capacity and actual production, nor does it reflect the difference between ADNOC’’s production, partner production and UAE total production.”

Global Witness said it analysed data on ADNOC’s annualised rate of hydrocarbon production, i.e. output not production capacity, information that is publicly available from the oil company. It determined that the company’s own production from both onshore and offshore operations will total 30.9 billion barrels of oil by 2050.

“If he was serious about climate action he would oversee a rapid and just phaseout of oil and gas, starting with his own business,” said Galey. “Sadly, and terrifyingly for those at the frontlines of the climate emergency, he appears to be doing the opposite.”

According to a joint report by BankTrack, LINGO, Reclaim Finance, and Urgewald, ADNOC plans to increase its oil production 25 percent by 2030, worth nine billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The resulting projects would lead to the highest absolute oil & gas supply overshoot of any company in the world, they said.

France’s TotalEnergies has nine joint projects with the state-owned company while Italy’s Eni has the highest share of total resources under development – 622 million barrels of oil equivalent. Other partners include ExxonMobil, BP, INPEX Corporation (Japan), China National Petroleum Corporation, PJSC Lukoil (Russia) and OMV (Austria).

ADNOC received US$14.1 billion of financing from 14 banks between 2016 and 2022, with HSBC (US$2.4 billion), MUFG (US$2.3 billion), SMBC (US$2.3 billion) and JPMorgan Chase (US$2.2 billion) the largest providers. Bantrack said three new loans totaling US$2.3 billion were added in 2023 supported by the Bank of China, ICBC and Standard Chartered.

Urgewald Energy Campaigner and head of Finance Research Katrin Ganswindt said: “The accelerating climate crisis could render the Arab Peninsula unlivable in the 21st century. Nevertheless, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is doubling down on oil & gas expansion and promises to store a tiny fraction of the resulting carbon emissions under the desert.”

In October 2023 ADNOC announced plans to double its carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) capacity goal to 10 million tonnes per annum by 2030.
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