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UAE partners with Japan to drive low carbon tech

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Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ENEOS Corporation and Mitsui sign the agreement
  • UAE provides Japan with 20% of its crude oil
  • Blue ammonia project to start in 2025 

The UAE and Japan are partnering on economic and energy opportunities in a bid to drive global low-carbon technologies, including studying the development of a hydrogen supply chain between the two countries.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) managing director and group chief executive met Japanese government and business leaders during a three-day working visit to the country.

Dr Al Jaber’s meetings covered a range of different topics, including the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Initiative (CSPI) between the UAE and Japan which was announced in 2018 during the visit of Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the UAE.

The CSPI aims to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and enable greater strategic cooperation in all areas of mutual interest.

“Today, Japan is one of the UAE’s largest and most important energy and trading partners,” Al Jaber said.

“We are keen to leverage every facet of our relationship, including climate diplomacy to drive economic development, enable low-carbon growth and enhance energy security.”

Al Jaber highlighted the UAE’s commitment to Japan’s energy security and said the UAE will continue to ensure reliable supplies of crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan.

The UAE is Japan’s top crude oil supplier, providing around 20 percent of its crude oil requirement.

The meetings build on 50 years of economic and diplomatic cooperation between the UAE and Japan. 

Energy supply and climate action discussed

Economic and industrial development, energy supply, hydrogen and climate action were among the key topics of the discussions.

Al Jaber reviewed ongoing joint initiatives between the UAE and Japan in hydrogen and low-carbon blue ammonia and highlighted the ambition of the UAE and Japan to harness new commercially feasible technologies to reduce carbon emissions.

During the visit, Adnoc, ENEOS Corporation and Mitsui signed an agreement to explore establishing a hydrogen supply chain between the UAE and Japan.

The agreement will assess the potential to convert hydrogen produced as a by-product from Adnoc’s refining and petrochemical operations and blue hydrogen produced from natural gas (hydrogen produced from CO2 captured and stored in the production process) to methylcyclohexane (MCH), an efficient form of hydrogen transport, for export to Japan.

Mitsui also signed an agreement to partner with Abu Dhabi Chemicals Derivatives Company, Fertiglobe and GS Energy for a low-carbon blue ammonia production facility at the TA’ZIZ Industrial Chemicals Zone in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi.

The initial agreement was announced in November 2021 and the project is targeted at accelerating Abu Dhabi’s global position in low-carbon fuels, capitalising on the demand for blue ammonia as a carrier fuel for clean hydrogen.

The low-carbon blue ammonia project is expected to commence production in 2025, with a production capacity of approximately one million tonnes per annum of blue ammonia. 

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Sumitomo Corporation to develop waste-to-energy projects.

This partnership aims to open up prospects for cooperation between the two companies in a range of projects, including a facility to treat 390,000 tons of waste annually and generate 25 megawatts of energy.

In 2021, the UAE was Japan’s 10th largest trading partner globally. Bilateral trade between both countries exceeded $30 billion in 2021, with UAE exports to Japan rising to $26 billion, and imports from Japan increasing to $6.2 billion. 

More than 340 Japanese companies are based in the UAE, working in various sectors including infrastructure, industry and energy.

The last 12 months have witnessed further economic co-operation between the UAE and Japan, with the signing of an agreement between Adnoc and three Japanese companies, INPEX Corporation, JERA Co. Inc and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation to explore the commercial potential of blue ammonia production in the UAE. 

Both countries also agreed to cooperate on fuel ammonia and carbon recycling technologies following a Memorandum of Cooperation between ADNOC and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in January 2021.