The Business Year

HE Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi

UAE, ABU DHABI - Energy & Mining

Energy Giant

Director General, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)

Bio

HE Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi is the Director General of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and has held his post since June 2011. He is a Board Member of the Abu Dhabi-based Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC), in addition to several federal and local government organizations and entities. Al Suwaidi graduated as a Chemical Engineer from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.

As a part of Vision 2030, Abu Dhabi is moving to diversify its economy away from oil and gas. What is the potential for clean energy in the UAE, and […]

As a part of Vision 2030, Abu Dhabi is moving to diversify its economy away from oil and gas. What is the potential for clean energy in the UAE, and how is the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) supporting its growth?

ADNOC works with other Abu Dhabi-based companies and institutions on cleaner conventional forms of energy, including alternative and renewable energy. Our cooperation with the Environment Agency—Abu Dhabi (EAD) and the Abu Dhabi Company for Future Energy (Masdar) are two of many examples in this regard. Also, since 1995, ADNOC has taken significant steps toward gas flaring reduction, which has now reached 75%. ADNOC has set a target of reaching zero flaring. Due to our strong belief in the potential of gas as a cleaner source of energy, ADNOC has embarked on various projects and developments that meet such expectations. The 2013 edition of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC 2013), of which ADNOC has long been the main supporter and sponsor along with the UAE’s Ministry of Energy, will give more attention to gas in terms of discussion, participating companies, and papers presented by participants. The goal is to shed more light on forms of cleaner energy, including gas, which complement the overall direction of the UAE’s government in utilizing all sources of clean energy. All such joint efforts and work are part of the government’s overall plans for sustainable development and the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 and UAE Vision 2021, in which adding a greater variety of energy resources would bring more diversification to the UAE economy.

What opportunities are you seeing from the UAE’s proximity to Asian markets?

Asian markets are of considerable significance for ADNOC in terms of cooperation and activities, especially in the oil, gas, and petrochemicals business. It is reported that 25% of Japanese crude oil imports come from Abu Dhabi, and ADNOC supervises and conducts all upstream and downstream crude oil operations. Another example is liquefied natural gas (LNG), regarding which an agreement was signed to build a plant on Das Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi, with a supply of LNG that will last for 20 years. The agreement was to double production, with Japan importing the bulk for a further 25 years, effective as of 1994. According to sources, it is believed that one in four lamps in Japan works on gas from Abu Dhabi. Downstream, one of ADNOC’s subsidiaries, Abu Dhabi Polymers Company (Borouge), has a production plant in China to meet many of the Far East’s requirements for plastic solutions. These are just some examples that illustrate the importance of Asian markets for ADNOC and the UAE. There are many opportunities there and ADNOC will continue to sustain and boost its oil and gas trade volume with the region.

How is ADNOC investing in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) methods?

The term “post-easy-oil” has been emerging in the industry’s discussions and on expert panels in recent years. ADNOC remains keen on turning to the latest technology and innovations, paying close attention to EOR mechanisms, research, and investment. ADNOC has assumed a responsible role in developing Abu Dhabi’s hydrocarbon resources by maximizing safe and sustainable recovery from reservoirs, taking the initiative to assess the opportunities of carbon dioxide flooding for EOR, as well as sequestering it in target reservoirs. As part of the continuous effort to ensure the sustainability of the hydrocarbon supply, ADNOC and its group of companies are currently following an EOR piloting road map to test and prepare the major offshore and onshore fields for such EOR schemes. The EOR Road Map defines the timing, scope, and scale of the projects, identifies gaps in crucial data, sets the priorities for research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) programs, and arranges various development programs for personnel.

“Middle Eastern producers will continue to contribute significantly to meeting global energy demand. “

To what degree will ADNOC invest in infrastructure and human capital in order to meet the UAE’s 2017 target of 3.5 million barrels per day (bbl/d)?

ADNOC has set a target of 3.5 million bbl/d in crude oil production by 2017. And, in order to reach such an objective, ADNOC has been investing and embarking on a wide range of development projects and expansions in various lines of its operations. This involves the full capitalization of human resources and the greater integration of talented and qualified Emirati human capital into the workforce.

What effect is US shale gas and Venezuelan oil having on the market?

It has been observed and noted that light tight oil and shale gas are changing the traditional approach of producers—and as a result, of consumers—in the energy business. In the US, large recoverable resources of shale gas, coupled with an unexpected breakthrough in technology, has resulted in a cost-effective energy source. This gives the industry a competitive advantage and stimulus for healthy economic activity. It is fair to acknowledge that the industry would face some challenges, requiring new strategies and skills as the role of key players in the global energy market changes. Nevertheless, Middle Eastern producers will continue to contribute significantly to meeting global energy demand as conventional oil and gas supplies remain vital sources in the global energy mix for the near future. ADNOC plans to drill an appraisal well to assess the commercial viability of the shale oil and gas reserves across some areas of the Emirate. This is a natural progression for our gas sector, and we are open to exploring potential strategic partnerships to fully develop opportunities in the future.

How is ADNOC encouraging Emiratis to enter the workforce?

ADNOC devotes strong attention to education. ADNOC-affiliated academic institutions and programs, such as the Petroleum Institute (PI), the ADNOC Technical Institute (ATI), the Glenelg School of Abu Dhabi (GSAD), and the ADNOC Scholarship and Achievers’ Oasis Programs have been jointly providing a full-scale educational package to highly qualified and talented Emiratis. The ADNOC Scholarship Program was established in 1974 to assist UAE high school students interested in university studies to pursue their higher education at prestigious international colleges and universities. Having completed their undergraduate and graduate degrees, they are offered job opportunities within ADNOC and its group of companies. The ATI was established in 1978 to train young school-goers keen on pursuing their technical ambitions through training and development. The PI, which started to admit and enroll its first batch of students in the 2001-2002 academic year for males, and then in 2006 for females, offers students Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in five engineering disciplines related to the oil and gas sector. Graduates from the PI enjoy the privilege of joining ADNOC and its group of companies to apply and utilize their learning experience in the field at the company’s various sites and premises. This is in line with ADNOC’s 75% Emiratization Plan target by the year 2017.

With the Indian subcontinent on your doorstep and the Far East nearby, how important is the South American market to ADNOC’s business strategy?

ADNOC has been a key contributor in strengthening and consolidating mutual relations between the UAE and various countries and regions from around the globe, especially in the oil and gas sector. This has been illustrated for decades through crude oil field concessions, joint ventures, contractual partnerships, and other related activities such as the exchange of expertise in business and academia. ADNOC will continue on this path with openness to mutual understanding and cooperation in all investments and business opportunities for a better world and a more prosperous UAE.

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