LONDON, 15th July 2023 - COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber's company plans to produce oil and gas that when burned for energy will emit more than 11 billion tonnes of CO2 - not far short of China's annual emissions - a Global Witness analysis of industry production data shows.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), of which Jaber is CEO, plans to produce the equivalent of more than 28 billion barrels of oil by 2050, according to data from Rystad Energy, an industry monitor. (1)

Jaber is the president of COP28, this year’s UN climate summit, where he is tasked with trying to keep the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.

Yet under his guidance ADNOC is on course to produce oil and gas that when burned for energy will emit 11.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent. China – the world’s largest polluter – emitted 12.4 billion tonnes of CO2e in 2021, the most recent year for which data is available.

The UN’s Environment Programme says global emissions must be reduced by 45 percent by 2030 in order to keep 1.5C in play. ADNOC plans to produce 1.25 billion barrels of oil equivalent in 2030 – an increase of 42 percent on current production. (2)

ADNOC did not respond to a request to comment.

 Alice Harrison, Fossil Fuels Campaign Leader at Global Witness, said:

"Sultan Al Jaber is the boss of one of the world's biggest fossil fuel firms, and is overseeing a massive ramp-up in its oil and gas production. He’s also been put in charge of global climate talks to reduce carbon emissions and avoid climate catastrophe. The absurdity of this would be laughable, if it wasn’t deadly serious.

“ADNOC exists to make money from oil and gas, and Jaber is mobilising enormous resources to continue doing so. Given his position within both ADNOC and the UAE government, it’s ridiculous to think he’ll approach COP28 with any other goal in mind. As the continued burning of fossil fuels threatens to tip entire nations towards oblivion, how can Jaber sit in the room with representatives from small island states and negotiate with a straight face?

“Al Jaber must be removed from the COP presidency immediately, as his interests are transparently at odds with those of the most climate vulnerable nations, and indeed with efforts to keep this planet habitable for the majority of those who live on it.”

Research by Global Witness, Corporate Europe Observatory and Corporate Accountability at the last two COPs has revealed a disturbing trend in the number of fossil fuel lobbyists in attendance. We found that at least 636 had registered to attend the COP27 climate talks in Egypt, affiliated with some of the world's biggest polluting oil and gas giants - an increase of over 25% from COP26. 70 people on the UAE’s official delegation were classed as fossil fuel lobbyists, which was more than any other country.

We are calling on the UN to introduce conflict of interest policies at COPs that would restrict interference from the fossil fuel lobby in international climate policymaking, similar to the international ban on tobacco industry lobbyists in public health policy.


•            The data on ADNOC’s forecasted oil and gas production was sourced from energy business intelligence agency Rystad Energy’s UCube database. UCube is an integrated field-by-field database of the global upstream oil and gas market, covering the time span from 1900 to 2100. Rystad’s data is widely referenced by major oil and gas companies, the media and international bodies such as the IEA.

•            UCube takes into account oil and gas demand to project asset-level supply. Projections are based on data sources including company reporting (e.g., earnings and profits reporting) and policies, government sources, energy service reporting, energy agencies and academic research and news articles. Where reported data is unavailable, data is modelled based on the above sources and supported by a comprehensive database of global oil and gas fields.

•            We sourced the data of forecasted production for the period 2023-2050. The data includes all assets that are currently producing, those under development (assets for which development has been approved but production has not yet started), and discovery (assets where discoveries have been made, but are not yet in a phase of further development). We did not include Rystad’s undiscovered life cycle category, which covers assets where discoveries have not yet been made.

•            The data covers only crude oil and gas production, not NGL and condensate, making these conservative production estimates. Please note that the carbon emissions relate to end-use emissions only ; it does not include the upstream emissions that arise from oil and gas production. 


1) Calculations of CO2e of barrel of oil equivalent use the European Investment Bank’s Carbon Footprint Methodologies.

2) Estimates for carbon that would be produced if the oil and gas ADNOC are projected to produce is burned are made by Global Witness based on data from Rystad Energy (please refer to the methodology for more detail). Calculations available upon request.

Rystad data shows that ADNOC plans a vast expansion of oil and gas production until at least 2030. The oil giant recently announced it would spend $150 billion on accelerating an increase in oil production capacity from 4 million barrels per day to 5 million per day by 2025, according to Bloomberg - 10 times the amount it plans to spend on "low carbon" projects by 2030.

ADNOC says it plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 "or sooner". However it appears to include only emissions from its direct operations, and from the energy it uses "to run operations under our operational control," known as Scope 1 and 2 emissions. It does not include the emissions produced when customers burn its oil and gas - so-called Scope 3 emissions - which account for the vast majority of lifecycle emissions for fossil fuels. 

The company plans to have a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCUS) capacity of 5 million tonnes annually by 2030. In the same year, its oil and gas products, once consumed, will produce some 495 million tonnes of CO2e - close to 100 times more than it will be able to sequester