Adnoc CEO: The year 2020 has underscored the human in humanity

The UAE leadership prioritised the health and safety of all residents –a blueprint that guided Adnoc’s response this year

Adnoc documentary. courtesy: Adnoc
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What a year 2020 has been. When I wrote to my colleagues at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company on Monday, I was keenly aware that we have all been through so much, on a global scale, as a company and as individuals. It has been a lot to cope with, and in fact a lot to process.

So as we approach the end of this year I told them how I wanted to take some time to reflect. The year 2020 has been one of the most difficult in living memory, there is no doubt about it.

Yet, this year has also been an opportunity to refocus on what is truly important, whether that be taking care of our families and loved ones, looking after our health, contributing to a common cause or helping someone in need.

In short, this year has emphasised the human in humanity.

And it is this human factor that I wanted to focus on in my end of year message to them, because I believe it is what has gotten all of us – both working inside Adnoc and everyone else – through this year.

People at every level of the organisation have been the key to helping Adnoc cope with and succeed in 2020.

I’m thinking about our people on the front lines – in upstream, downstream and across our retail stations and vessels – who kept our operations running through the dark days of March to May and haven’t missed a beat since.

Many went months without seeing family and that is a sacrifice that will never be forgotten by the people of the UAE and by our leaders.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - November 22, 2020: HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces (L) chairs a virtual Supreme Petroleum Council meeting.

( Hamed Al Mansoori for the Ministry of Presidential Affairs )
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, personally thanked the families of frontline workers who lost their lives battling the pandemic. Hamed Al Mansoori / Ministry of Presidential Affairs

I’m thinking about our people who worked round the clock to deliver the deals we landed this year, despite the economic headwinds the world faced. The foreign investment we attracted this year, and the new partnerships we forged, represent a major vote of confidence in the health and resilience of our business and the future prospects of our country.

I’m thinking about the people who got our new oil trading business, Adnoc Global Trading, off the ground and are helping us capture more value every day from every barrel we produce.

A genral view taken on May 29, 2019 shows the sea front promenade in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi with the ADNOC headquarters (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) office complex (C) in the foreground on May 29, 2019. (Photo by Karim SAHIB / AFP)
A view of the seafront promenade and Adnoc headquarters along the Corniche in Abu Dhabi. AFP

And I’m thinking in particular about our medical, health, safety and environment, group services and business continuity teams who went above and beyond to put the systems and protocols in place that have kept us all safe and secure.

In fact, I am thinking about each and every one of my colleagues, wherever they are in Adnoc.

Reflect on the challenges and success of this past year. Build on the life lessons, be it professional or personal, and seize the optimism that is around the corner

Their continuous commitment to work hard and work safely has been essential to driving Adnoc forward. They are truly the main ingredient to our success.

One other thing I specifically wanted to share is how throughout this experience, our leadership continuously inspired me – strengthening my resolve and giving me courage and confidence. Our leadership insisted that the health and safety of every single person living in the UAE was paramount. And they laid out a clear and simple blueprint, which guided Adnoc’s response: ‘keep our people safe, protect our bottom line and create value’. And that is exactly what we at Adnoc have accomplished together.

Heathcare workers at the emergency ward in Sheikh Khalifa Medical City. This ward is now dedicated to treating covid 19 patients.
(Photo: Reem Mohammed/The National)

Healthcare workers at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi. In May, the emergency ward was dedicated to treating Covid-19 patients. Reem Mohammed / The National

Challenges have a way of defining who we really are – of pushing our humanity to the forefront, and placing it above all else.

I, like many others, am proud of how our nation and leaders chose kindness over fear, unity over division, and optimism over gloom. And I am proud of how the Adnoc team reflected that very same spirit – a spirit that will keep us on track towards a bright, resilient future.

In my note, I asked each of my colleagues to stay safe and well, to give themselves some time to reflect on the challenges and success of this past year. Build on the life lessons, be it professional or personal, and seize the optimism that is around the corner.

I hope they also accept my sincere thanks, because I know we wouldn’t have gotten through this year without them, and I also know that I can count on them to make 2021 a year to remember for all the right reasons.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber is the chief executive of Adnoc Group and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology. You can read his message to his Adnoc colleagues on LinkedIn.