The UAE’s economic success has been underpinned by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company's transition into an efficient and innovative energy company, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said on Monday.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, congratulated Adnoc after its managing director and the group chief executive, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, accepted a prestigious industry award on Monday.
"Adnoc continues to drive innovation and efficiency in the energy sector and remains a crucial pillar of our nation’s economic success," Sheikh Mohamed said.
The UAE leadership’s pioneering efforts to diversify its economy amid the energy transition and climate change have achieved global recognition, Dr Al Jaber said as he formally received the Energy Executive of the Year Award for 2021 from Energy Intelligence at an event held online.
Energy Intelligence is a leading industry research and information company. Dr Al Jaber is the 25th recipient of the award. Previous honourees include Saudi Aramco’s Amin Nasser, Ben van Beurden of Royal Dutch Shell, Bob Dudley, then of BP, Patrick Pouyanne of Total, Khalid Al Falih, now Saudi Arabia's Minister of Investment, and Rex Tillerson, former Exxon chief executive and US secretary of state.
In his acceptance speech, Dr Al Jaber, who is also Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, spoke of the role played by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.
"He enabled everything I have achieved so far, both at Adnoc and beyond Adnoc. He has challenged me to push the boundaries of the possible. He has inspired me with his wisdom and guidance. And when times were tough, his support has been unwavering."
Dr Al Jaber also highlighted how Sheikh Mohamed was instrumental in getting the UAE “ahead of the curve”.
The UAE, which has the sixth-largest oil and gas reserves in the world, has invested in alternative sources of energy, including the nuclear reactor at Al Barakah, the development of hydrogen as a fuel and scaling up the capacity of renewable resources.
By 2050, it aims to double the contribution of clean energy to its power mix to 50 per cent. The country's economy is also evolving, with artificial intelligence and other technologies being utilised to help diversify it away from a reliance on oil exports.
Dr Al Jaber highlighted the changing face of the energy industry and “as the world continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic … the role of the energy executive today is more complex than it has ever been”.
Climate action and emerging technologies are “rebalancing the energy mix and … are disrupting established business models”.
“We must be agile in future-proofing our businesses. We must continue to make core investments to keep up with growing demand,” he said.
Dr Al Jaber also noted the country’s accomplishments in renewable energy in the past 15 years, including through Abu Dhabi clean-energy company Masdar.
“The UAE has three of the largest and lowest-cost solar plants anywhere in the world, while our wind and solar portfolio has grown to 13 gigawatts … in over 30 countries … in five continents,” he said.
Since 2016, Dr Al Jaber has been at the helm of Adnoc, leading its transformation from a traditional national oil company to a more commercially focused international energy group.
Future opportunities will be “guided by the energy transition”, he said.
This is “driving Adnoc’s investment into new zero-carbon energies like hydrogen. Opportunity is shaping the business case for our carbon capture technologies. And opportunity is creating a premium for the most carbon efficient barrels in the world.
“At the same time … let us remember that the energy transition is exactly that – a transition that will require a mix of energies that we provide.”
“And by supplying the world with sustainable energy, we will sustain our place in the world of energy,” he said.
Dr Al Jaber also talked about the UAE’s Jubilee and the government’s Principles of the 50 which chart the economic, political and developmental road map for next five decades of prosperity.
“A key pillar is ‘building partnerships across the world’ … While this award represents a great compliment to the leadership of the UAE, to my colleagues and to me, it is truly the result of effective partnership across the industry and across the world,” he said.
Adnoc's deals and partnerships have helped to draw more than $64.5 billion (Dh236.7bn) in foreign direct investment to the UAE in the last five years.
In his acceptance speech, Dr Al Jaber traced his career, crediting Founding Father Sheikh Zayed with providing opportunities for him and all Emiratis.
"From an early age, I always wanted to be an engineer and it was my dream to work at Adnoc," he said.
Dr Al Jaber said he also owed "a great deal to my family, who have been with me, and there for me, through everything".
His father pushed him "to work hard and to never give anything less than everything I had to give. Importantly, he taught me to always show my love of my country through my actions and by giving back".
"These values have guided me every day, every step of the way. And if there is one thing I want to give back to my country today, it is to pass on to my children and the next generation of Emiratis the most important lessons I have learned. That good work is hard and that hard work is good. And that you can forget you are tired if you never forget that you are making an impact," he said.
Dr Al Jaber thanked colleagues across the energy industry.
"You have given me insight, support, and advice at key moments ... This is an award built on the work of many. It is proof that we succeed together, in partnership."
He also thanked Energy Intelligence for the award and helping "deepen our understanding of the energy industry".