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Post pandemic oil and gas opportunities will far outweigh challenges, says ADNOC CEO

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The Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) 2020 Virtual – the world’s biggest online gathering of oil and gas industry leaders – opened on Tuesday with a bullish forecast for the sector to emerge stronger from the global pandemic with opportunities far outweighing challenges. This is a positive outlook, especially for new producers like Guyana, now positioning to develop billions of barrels of recently discovered hydrocarbon resources in the coming decade.

The upbeat forecast came from Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the UAE’s Minister for Industry and Advanced Technology and Group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), which is hosting the virtual programme.

In his keynote address, at the opening of ADIPEC 2020 Virtual’s Strategic Conference programme, Al Jaber shared an optimistic outlook for an oil and gas industry challenged by “strange times”.

While stressing that the oil and gas industry is facing “new questions every day”, with answers appearing “harder to find than ever before”, Al Jaber said the entire sector was unified in meeting the challenges of the pandemic, adding the industry would survive fortified.

“We are, all of us, in this together,” he said. “And together we can come through it… and emerge stronger…much stronger.”

The key, Al Jaber said, is the certainty of a post-pandemic upswing in oil and gas demand and of sector resilience borne out of its talent base and capabilities.

“The months ahead will be challenging, and oil demand may fluctuate,” he cautioned: “but make no mistake… the long-term fundamentals of our industry remain intact.”

He said it is expected that oil demand will grow to over 105 million barrels per day by 2030 and continue to supply over half the world’s energy needs for many decades to come.

“At the same time, the petrochemicals sector will continue to grow at a healthy pace through and beyond 2050 in line with a steadily expanding global middle class,” he stated.

Guyana’s production will hit 750,000 barrels per day by 2026 before exceeding the 1 million barrels per day mark by 2030, and peaking in the mid-2030s at around 1.4 million barrels per day.

Al Jaber said opportunities are on the horizon for the industry to become more agile and safe with a lower cost base. ADNOC, he said, would seize opportunities to accelerate its drive to control costs and unlock value across its portfolio. He disclosed that the UAE oil major has already saved over US$3 billion over the past four years by leveraging big data through its Panorama command centre and adopting digital drilling.

Opportunity also lay in the industry’s need to do more for climate change, according to Al Jaber.

“ADNOC is already one of the least carbon intensive producers in the world but our aspirations are greater,” he said, adding that over the next decade, ADNOC would reduce its greenhouse gas intensity by a further 25%.

“We are expanding our carbon capture programme so that it stores 5 million tonnes of CO2 every single year and importantly we will explore the potential of new fuels, such as hydrogen,” he said.

The ADNOC strategy, Al Jaber said, is based on the knowledge that post-pandemic, the world will demand the lowest carbon oil and gas possible: “That is a market. That is an opportunity,” he said.

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