LONDON, 15th November 2023 – With just weeks to go until the COP28 climate summit, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, who’s both the COP President and boss of UAE oil giant ADNOC, has been promoting carbon capture as a climate solution.
"If we are serious about curbing industrial emissions,” Al Jaber said in May, “we need to get serious about carbon capture technologies."
Today, new Global Witness analysis reveals that it would take his oil company over 340 years to remove the CO2 it will produce by 2030.
The analysis shows:
- If ADNOC’s CCS projects operate at full capacity between now and 2030, it would take the company some 343 years to capture the carbon it has produced.
- In 2030 alone, when ADNOC says it will capture 10 million tonnes of carbon, the company will also produce 492 million tonnes, capturing just 2 percent.
According to Global Witness calculations, based on production data from Rystad, between 2023 and 2030 ADNOC’s oil and gas will produce an estimated 3,430 million tonnes of carbon, including emissions from producing its fossil fuels and emissions from the burning of those fuels.
By 2030, ADNOC has pledged to increase the amount of carbon it captures to 10 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). This would be a sizeable jump from ADNOC’s current capacity, which is only 800,000 mtpa. The firm recently announced two new projects that would capture another 3 mtpa produced by the company as it drills for gas.
If ADNOC wanted to capture all the carbon it will emit by 2030, its CCS projects would have needed to start working in 1680, when Charles II was King of England and Scotland and the year before Pennsylvania was founded as a colony. This was more than 100 years before the Bani Yas tribe, from which Abu Dhabi’s ruling family descends, settled in the region.
Campaigners have long called out CCS as a false climate solution, which is being used by ADNOC and other fossil fuel companies to claim they are cleaning up their act, while pumping millions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.
In the US, 80 percent of CCS projects have failed, while projects by oil majors like Shell and Chevron have massively underperformed. Rather than being a climate solution, CCS to date has largely helped drive the climate emergency. In 2021, 81 percent of carbon captured was actually used to produce more fossil fuels, as it was pumped underground to force out oil and gas.
Jonathan Noronha Gant with Global Witness said:
“Carbon capture is a dangerous red herring, and Al Jaber need to look no further than his own oil company for proof. Sultan Al Jaber’s COP is shaping up to be the COP of false solutions, inundated by fossil fuel lobbyists pushing empty promises. If Al Jaber is serious – if we are serious – we must immediately reject the CCS false solution and tackle the existential oil and gas problem head on’’.
Responding to Global Witness’ findings, ADNOC stated that it had “taken significant steps to decarbonize our operations.” The company also said that CCS was a “critical tool in holding back emissions” and that the IEA and IPCC said CCS would play an “important and diverse role” in meeting climate goals.
The IPCC and IEA have said that CCS could be useful in capturing carbon for heavy industries that burn fossil fuels – like cement or chemicals – and will take time to stop. Neither body have said, however, that CCS should be used – as is the case with ADNOC – to help produce more of the fossil fuels that are causing the climate emergency.
- Emissions calculations made by Global Witness based on oil and gas production data supplied by Rystad, a leading energy data firm, and ADNOC CCS capacity and production efficiency announcements. Emissions assume all oil and gas produced by ADNOC is burned, and that CCS projects operate at full capacity.
- COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber, states the world needs to be serious about the climate emergency. He said we must reduce our carbon emissions by 43 percent by 2030 and everyone, including fossil fuel companies, needs to reduce not only the emissions they produce when drilling for oil and gas, but also the emissions produced when the fuels are burned.