COP28 host UAE plans massive expansion in oil and gas production despite climate pledges: report

COP28 host UAE plans massive expansion in oil and gas production despite climate pledges: report
A report by the UK newspaper The Guardian revealed that the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company plans a massive expansion in oil and gas production, even though the country has been chosen to host the UN's COP28 climate summit later this year.
3 min read
06 April, 2023
Sultan Al Jaber is head of the UAE's oil company [KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images]

The UAE is planning to massively expand its oil and gas production, according to The Guardian, contradicting its role as the host of this year's climate summit and undermining attempts to move towards renewable energy. 

Sultan Al Jaber, the head of the UAE’s national oil company Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), has been controversially chosen to lead the conference.

He is at the same time planning to expand the country's production of oil and gas equivalent to 7.6 billion barrels of oil, according to the UK newspaper, making it unlikely that the world will meet its net-zero targets set out by the UN’s International Energy Agency. 

ADNOC is the world’s 11th largest oil and gas producer. Data revealed by The Guardian shows that its short-term expansion plans - to add 7.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent in the next few years - are the fifth largest increase in the world. 

The data used in the report was produced by German NGO Urgewald, which accessed data from Rystad Energy - an industry standard source but is not available to the public - in September 2022. 

The revelation is at odds with Al-Jaber's pledges to commit to transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. At the 'Road to COP28' conference on 15 March, Al-Jaber affirmed that "we [the world] have to rapidly reduce emissions".

He said a day later: "Oil and gas companies need to align around net zero."

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Earlier in February, Al-Jaber told the World Government Summit: "We in the UAE are not shying away from the energy transition. We are running towards it."

The New Arab has reached out to the UAE's energy ministry for comment, but did not receive a response by the time of publication. 

The UAE has been criticised in the run-up to COP28 summit for its oil production activities and the environmental damage caused by them, with many doubts being cast about the suitability of the country as host. 

There are also concerns that Abu Dhabi will limit free speech during the run-up to and during the event. It was revealed earlier this week that panelists at a climate and health conference in the country were told not to protest or criticise the UAE government, corporations, or individuals.