Interview: Sultan Al Jaber

How are ADNOC’s priorities going to change moving forward across the value chain?

SULTAN AL JABER: We have examined all of our assets, competitive advantages and emerging market potential. Based on this comprehensive review, we have set out our 2030 growth strategy, which will deliver a more profitable upstream, a more valuable downstream and a more economic and sustainable supply of gas. We are balancing a focus on maintaining efficiency and improving performance with targeted investments that will deliver smart growth.

At the core of this growth strategy is a new model for partnership, defined by a spirit of innovation, an openness to new opportunities and a willingness to share risk. Upstream, our partners will help us stretch the dollar of every barrel we produce by applying the latest technologies and securing greater market access. While on the downstream side, partnerships will help us exponentially expand our petrochemical business in line with the fast growing demand for higher value products.

What is the guiding impetus behind ADNOC’s downstream expansion plans?

AL JABER: Ultimately, our objective is to ensure ADNOC is resilient to the downside and responsive to the upside. This will require continued upstream capacity growth, balanced with an expanded downstream businesses. We believe there is immense opportunity for increasing profitability, by integrating our gas, refining and petrochemicals businesses. Our expanded Borouge facility at Ruwais is now the largest plant of its kind in the world, producing 4.5m tonnes per annum (tpa) of polyolefins. We intend to invest in new projects that we will integrate with our existing downstream business.

The first of these expansions — a gasoline and aromatics project — will come on-stream in 2022, increasing gasoline production to 10.2m tpa, with the gasoline and aromatics project adding 4.2m tpa of gasoline supply and 1.4m tpa of aromatics. In parallel, we are taking steps to triple our petrochemical capacity, from 4.5m to 11.4m tpa, by 2025, as we target an expected doubling of demand for petrochemicals in Asian markets.

And lastly, we are looking at how we can more effectively expand our current refining capacity, to integrate a new 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) export focused refinery at Ruwais post-2025, so that we can respond more quickly to changing market conditions in Asia and elsewhere.

What role will carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) play in ADNOC’s growth plans?

AL JABER: Through Al Reyadah we demonstrated that CCUS is a commercially viable solution to limiting industrial CO emissions and reinjecting captured CO for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The captured 800,000 tonnes of CO being used for EOR frees valuable natural gas for power generation and the production of higher value-added products. This is a win-win situation, as it directly supports our strategy to effectively enhance oil recovery within specific fields that, over time, will need support from such technologies. EOR in itself is nothing new for ADNOC.

We have been leveraging related techniques since 1996. Today, our group produces an estimated 200,000 bpd, which is enabled by EOR methods. This is a rather moderate amount, compared to our daily production of some 3m bpd, and shows the strength of Abu Dhabi’s rich oil fields.

Beyond the CO injection at our Rumaitha onshore field, and the majority of ADNOC’s EOR enabled production, which is based on rich miscible gas injection, we are preparing for tailored EOR techniques for candidate reservoirs based upon reservoir characteristics, developed in conjunction with the world’s leading industrial and academic institutions.