Apr. 29, 2020


Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber

UAE, Abu Dhabi

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber

CEO, ADNOC Group

“Responsible production extends beyond emissions control. It also requires we prioritize the health and safety of employees and the public and do our utmost to protect the environment we operate in”

BIO

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber is a Minister of State in the UAE Cabinet & CEO of the ADNOC Group. As Minister of State, he is responsible for a number of economic, political, development, and social filles of the UAE. Before entering government, he developed a specialized expertise in energy and infrastructure, beginning his early career at ADNOC. He established Masdar and served seven years as its CEO. In 2016, while retaining the chairmanship of Masdar, he returned to ADNOC as its CEO. Dr. Al Jaber holds a PhD in business and economics from the UK, as well as BSc in chemical and petroleum engineering and an MBA from the US.


As ADNOC seeks to remain competitive in the evolving energy landscape, how has this focus shaped ADNOC's growth strategy? More broadly speaking, what does a national oil company need to do to prepare for success in the future?
Our industry is being disrupted on multiple levels—by new technology, new business and operating models, new forms of energy, and a new geopolitical order. Yet, the oil and gas company of today can be a winner of tomorrow, if it operates at a lower level of cost and a higher level of performance, brings digital into the core of its operations, embeds sustainability into its DNA, and rethinks how to leverage its partnerships, enable its people, and re-center its customer relationships. As an essential driver of economic development, we are in the business of progress around the world. By doubling down on this mission to modernize, we can and will remain an essential pillar of the future diversified energy mix. At ADNOC, we understand the necessity to think and act differently. We have adopted a more flexible and open mindset when it comes to deciding how to grow each of our businesses for long-term success. We have also broadened our universe of stakeholders and partners to ensure we are working with third parties that can provide the best, strategic and operational fit for our assets and businesses. This includes engaging with new sets of investors who value long-term sustainable returns, as well as creating relationships where best practices are shared, technology is leveraged, capital efficiency is maximized, and market access is enhanced. By doing so, we are seizing the opportunities of the fourth industrial age and, in effect, nurturing the national oil company of the future.

ADNOC receives a lot of interest from prospective international partners. What are the most important qualities, beyond bottom line considerations, that the company is looking for in potential collaborations? What does it take to secure a partnership with ADNOC?
For decades, ADNOC and the UAE have adopted a partnership approach to their energy businesses. It is one of ADNOC and the UAE's defining strengths, and it has helped enhance ADNOC's global reputation as a trusted and reliable business partner and supplier of energy. Moreover, it reflects the spirit of partnership that defines the ethos of the UAE itself, and we wish to leverage that to ensure we maximize value from our assets and resources. So, we look for valuable partners that are forward thinking and fast acting, share our values, and are willing to contribute both capital and technological expertise for the joint pursuit of growth opportunities and financial returns. The ideal partner brings tangible strategic value to ADNOC, including access to new markets, and a willingness to invest alongside us and across our entire value chain.

What is the significance to the UAE of the Murban Futures Contract and the launch of the ICE Futures Abu Dhabi Exchange, and how does this fit into the broader ADNOC strategy?
Our Murban crude is a high-quality, highly sought-after grade unique to the UAE that our customers around the world know, value, and rely on. The decision by the Supreme Petroleum Council to list Murban as a futures contract and the launch of a new exchange in Abu Dhabi by Intercontinental Exchange mark an historic change in the way Murban crude will be priced and traded. For the first time, Murban will be priced on a forward-looking, market-driven basis, offering the market greater transparency and certainty. In turn, this will help capture more value from every barrel we produce, and it places Abu Dhabi and the UAE at the geographic center of global crude trading.

The UAE government has identified advancement in the areas of AI, automation and digitization as critical to the future development and diversification of the economy. How is ADNOC supporting these broad strategic goals, and what role do AI, automation and digitization play in ADNOC's transformation?
ADNOC fully supports the UAE leadership's vision to ensure the country remains at the cutting edge of advanced technology. At ADNOC, we are deploying state-of-the-art digital technologies, such as AI, predictive maintenance, drone technology and robotics, not only as key enablers of our growth but also as tools to improve performance and to generate greater value. As a result, we are embracing new ways of thinking about our business and leveraging the power of greater connectivity to strengthen our operational foundations. Every day, we analyze terabytes of information in our Panorama Digital Command Centre to support real-time decision making and enhance our ability to adapt quickly and effectively to changes in market dynamics. By combining new digital technologies with data-driven insights, we are redefining the boundaries of our operations and harnessing digital's true potential to deliver greater efficiencies, enhance performance, improve health, safety and environmental protection and to create long-term sustainable value.

The opening of ADNOC's Digital Command Centre sends a powerful message about the adoption of advanced technology at the heart of the company's operations. What do you see as the technological developments that will prove most ground-breaking over the next decade?
I cannot predict which new technologies will emerge in the future, but ADNOC is committed to unlocking the power of advanced technologies across all our operations. Digitalization is taking place along our full value chain, including analyzing potential exploration sites, drilling and extraction, pipeline construction, project operation and maintenance, and standardizing organizational procedures. We are utilizing digital technologies to not only empower our people to make better and quicker mar- ket-driven decisions, but also to unlock new hydrocarbon resources, increase efficiencies, optimize costs, and enhance performance. Looking to the future, we will continue to deploy new technologies that enable us to maximize value from every molecule we produce for the benefit of our shareholder, partners, and people and to stay ahead of the expand- ing energy demand curve.

One of the most critical subjects in the energy transition is responsible production. How does ADNOC approach this issue across its operations?
If future demand for energy is to be met, it will require an ecosystem that supports all forms of energy, from oil and gas to renewables and nuclear. It is also equally clear the world will need more energy with fewer emissions and we are ready to meet that challenge. Guided by the vision of our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, responsible production has been at the heart of ADNOC's approach to energy exploration from the very beginning. We produce some of the least carbon intensive barrels in the world; building on this legacy, we recently announced a comprehensive set of sustainability goals for 2030. By 2030, we will reduce our green-house gas intensity by an additional 25%. We will limit our fresh water consumption to below 0.5% of our total water use. We will increase our carbon capture utilization and storage program by 500% to capture the same amount of CO2 as 5 million acres of forest and we will plant 10 million mangroves in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafra Region, preventing coastline erosion and protecting bio- diversity offshore and on land. Our methane intensity is already among the lowest in the industry and we are investing in advanced and innovative technology that not only captures significant amounts of carbon dioxide from industrial sources but also frees up much needed clean burning gas for other purposes. We are also pioneering the use of optical drones to monitor fugitive emissions and exploring the use of advanced algorithms, predictive analytics, big data and AI to enhance our environmental performance and management practices. But responsible production extends beyond emissions control. It also requires we prioritize the health and safety of employees and the public and do our utmost to protect the environment we operate in. Here too, our record is among the best in the industry. HSE is in our DNA and in these critical areas there can and will be no compromises as we continue to meet the world's growing demand for energy.

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