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Adnoc taking on the world in renewable energy push

Musabbeh Al Kaabi Adnoc Adnoc
Adnoc's Musabbeh Al Kaabi says the Mediterranean is 'emerging as an energy hub'
  • Oil giant to grow in UK, US and the Med, director Al Kaabi says
  • Green hydrogen, wind power, battery storage among sectors of interest
  • Adnoc, BP plan £2bn gas development JV with Israel’s NewMedEnergy 

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is in talks to expand operations in the UK, US and East Mediterranean, with a focus on natural gas, hydrogen production and renewable energy storage, its newly appointed global growth director has said. 

Musabbeh Al Kaabi, Adnoc’s executive director of low carbon solutions and international growth, told AGBI the company is doubling down on plans to grow overseas and more deals are expected in the coming weeks and months. 

“Discussions are ongoing, we are engaging with the right partners and we are hopeful of seeing something tangible soon,” he said. 

Adnoc in December announced the creation of a new business division within the state-owned oil giant, known as the Low Carbon Solutions & International Growth unit, headed up by Al Kaabi.

It is an attempt to monetise the decarbonisation strategy mandated to it by the UAE government, whose net zero plan aims to reduce carbon emissions across the country by 49 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. 

Adnoc is working to decarbonise its operations in line with the national target. For example, it aims to grow renewable energy capacity to more than 100gw (gigawatts) by 2030 from 23gw; increase carbon capture capacity by more than 500 percent by 2030, and slash offshore greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent. 

Renewables and other green energy will be a priority for international partnerships, Al Kaabi said.

In the UK, Adnoc is “in discussions over potential green and blue hydrogen investments”, an area in which the UK and UAE governments have pledged to deepen cooperation, he said.

Battery storage systems – in which surplus renewable energy is stored for future use – are another sector of interest for Adnoc, following its subsidiary Masdar’s acquisition of UK-based Arlington Energy last year. 

Adnoc is also exploring opportunities in offshore wind power generation.

“There is a lot of traffic happening in this space and hopefully some announcements soon,” Al Kaabi said.

The company, via Masdar, owns 35 percent of the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm off the North Norfolk coast, and 20 percent of London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, located in the Thames Estuary. 

In the US, Adnoc is looking at opportunities presented by the agreement signed between the Biden administration and UAE last year to jointly invest $100 billion in renewable energy projects. 

Natural gas will be the other lynchpin of Adnoc’s overseas growth strategy, with a focus on the East Mediterranean. The region is “emerging as an energy hub given its proximity to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East”, said Al Kaabi. “It presents itself with an interesting strategic and financial angle.” 

Adnoc and BP plan to set up a $2bn gas development joint venture alongside Israel’s NewMedEnergy, which holds 45.34 percent of the Leviathan Reservoir, the largest gas reservoir in the Mediterranean. 

“We know the [low carbon] energy transition is picking up. It’s very important Adnoc maintains its position as a reliable producer of energy – be it legacy oil and gas activities, or the new forms of low carbon energy,” Al Kaabi said.