ADNOC May Rebrand Itself Before COP28, Which Other Oil Giants Are Doing

by | Jul 11, 2023

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Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

(Credit: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company)

ADNOC is headlining the COP28 climate discussions in Dubai, forcing the oil giant to consider a rebrand ahead of the global event – a move that other fossil fuel companies have made. But ADNOC is different because its chief executive is the president delegate of the worldwide climate talks.

While CEO Sultan Al Jaber is dead serious about reducing emissions worldwide, he faces the quintessential paradox: he heads an oil company at the same time he will chair negotiations to cut CO2 releases worldwide. Indeed, the Abu Dhabi-based oil company is increasing production; however, it aims to cut the carbon intensity of each barrel of oil.

In an interview, the CEO told this writer that his country is “walking the walk” by investing in renewable projects around the globe and is growing its own green energy portfolio. Addressing climate change is “right” while also making “perfect economic sense.”

According to leaked documents from the Centre for Climate Reporting, ADNOC will change its name before the COP28 meeting in December. It’s about “future-proofing” the company – something other oil giants have done: BP rebranded and became Beyond Petroleum. Meanwhile, Total became TotalEnergies, and Statoil changed its name to Equinor.

The discussion poses a relevant question: to what extent are oil companies positioning themselves to lead the green energy transition?

Investors, climate activists, and state attorneys have scrutinized Big Oil, forcing it to curb CO2 releases and be more transparent about how it values its climate risks. That dynamic is behind the move to diversify their portfolios and to accept their role in human-caused climate change. But they are significant natural gas developers, which is a cleaner alternative to coal for electricity generation and, for now, hydrogen production.

Take Chevron Corp., which has just formed a unit dedicated to hydrogen and carbon capture: it says it is advancing the hydrogen cause through strategic partnerships. That includes one with the U.S. Department of Energy to explore the potential for renewable natural gas – gas from landfills, for instance – to make hydrogen. The oil company also collaborates with Toyota and Cummins to build new hydrogen value chains for heavy-duty trucks.

“We currently produce approximately one million tons of grey hydrogen per year through our traditional business and have experience in retail hydrogen dating back to 2005,” says Michael Wirth, chief executive of Chevron, in Congressional testimony.

Give Credit Where it Is Due

Darren Woods, chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp., said Exxon had invested $10 billion in emissions reduction technologies. That includes everything from carbon capture to battery technology to advancing green hydrogen. While those tools are improving, he says they must attract more investment to mass-produce and reduce cost.

Exxon has “eliminated or avoided approximately 520 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – the equivalent of taking 110 million passenger vehicles off the road for a year,” says Woods.

Twenty percent of the 1,000 oil and gas execs surveyed by DNV GL say that their companies are already investing in hydrogen. More than half of those surveyed said hydrogen would be a significant part of the energy mix within 10 years. The international consulting firm says natural gas, carbon capture and storage, and renewable energy are linked to the hydrogen economy – all within the oil sector’s domain.

The Motley Fool gives credit to BP, TotalEnergies, and Enbridge for their work. For example, BP focuses on bioenergy, EV charging, and renewables and power. It acquired Archaea Energy, a U.S. renewable natural gas producer, and wants to build 20 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025 and 50 GW by 2030.

“Oil and natural gas will continue to make up a significant share of the energy mix by 2050, partly because of how they combine affordability and security of supply,” said McKinsey’s Global Energy Perspective 2022.

“Nonetheless, we believe that oil and gas companies are well positioned to play a meaningful role in the energy transition,” it added. “Reasons for this include their global scale, the risk appetite of their investors, their large balance sheets and cash positions, and their long-standing relationships with energy customers and stakeholders.”

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