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The UAE’s state energy company has brought forward its emissions reduction target as the Gulf country prepares to host the COP28 climate talks in December.
Adnoc, which is one of the biggest oil producers in the world, on Monday said it would aim to achieve net zero emissions from its operations by 2045 rather than 2050 and cut methane emissions to zero by 2030.
The announcement comes as the UAE, the world’s eighth-largest oil producer, faces criticism from activists and a group of US and EU lawmakers over its preparations for the climate talks, which will be chaired by Adnoc chief executive Sultan al-Jaber.
Critics have argued that al-Jaber’s role as head of Adnoc is at odds with his leadership of the talks.
This month, the Adnoc chief executive put forward his vision for COP28, which included setting a “mid-century” timeline for the phasing down of fossil fuels produced without the capture of emissions.
However, climate activists have called on the incoming COP president to go much further and commit to the phasing down of all new production.
Adnoc’s new net zero goal is the most ambitious emissions-reduction target of any large state-owned oil and gas company.
But it still only covers scope 1 and 2 emissions produced from its own operations.
This excludes scope 3 emissions, created when the fuels are burnt. These represent the majority of the emissions linked to fossil fuel consumption, which most European oil majors, including BP and Shell, have set targets to cut.
Adnoc framed the new targets as evidence of its ambition to play a leading role in cutting the emissions associated with fossil fuel production, despite its plans to increase oil output this decade.
“These targets mark a new chapter in Adnoc’s transformational journey to a lower-carbon future,” it said.
It aims to cut scope 1 and 2 emissions by powering more of its oil and gas production with renewable energy, and capturing and storing 5mn tonnes of carbon emissions a year by 2030.
Adnoc in January said it would allocate $15bn to “decarbonisation initiatives” such as carbon capture and storage, electrification and energy efficiency between 2023 and 2027, representing approximately 10 per cent of the total capital spending during the period.
On Monday, it said it would make additional investments in the “coming months” to help meet its updated decarbonisation targets.
Adnoc also released details of its carbon emissions for the first time. Last year the total scope 1 and 2 emissions from its oil and gas production was approximately 24mn tonnes of CO₂ equivalent, representing about 7kg of CO₂ per barrel of oil equivalent, which was one of the lowest carbon intensity levels in the world, it said.
Gulf rival Saudi Aramco emits about 10kg of CO₂e/boe, while BP emits about 15kg of CO₂e/boe.