Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has inked a “landmark” clean energy agreement with compatriot Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) that will see the state-owned giant utilise the latter’s clean energy resources from next year.

The Emirati giant said in a statement that the “strategic partnership, which is the largest of its kind in the oil and gas industry, will see up to 100% of Adnoc’s grid power supplied by EWEC’s nuclear and solar clean energy sources” from January next year.

Adnoc said: “EWEC will benefit from long-term electricity offtake for its current and future renewable and clean power sources, which include solar and nuclear power, enabling continued investment” aimed at decarbonising the energy sector.

Reducing emissions

The company noted the “new clean energy partnership will accelerate Adnoc’s sustainability goal of decreasing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 25% by 2030”.

The UAE recently highlighted its ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 that has triggered a series of clean energy initiatives in the Emirate.

“This progressive approach supports the UAE net-zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative and enhances Adnoc’s pathway to decarbonisation while enabling sustainable future growth,” Adnoc said.

The Emirati state-owned giant said that it is likely to emerge as the “first major oil and gas company to decarbonise its power at scale through a clean power agreement”.

While Adnoc has highlighted its intent to utilise EWEC’s solar and nuclear resources, it did not specify the quantum of power that is likely to be utilised by the company through clean energy sources.

Stepping up the clean energy drive

Leading national oil companies are stepping up their clean energy commitments, days ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Saudi Aramco recently announced that it aims to achieve net-zero Scope-1 and Scope-2 emissions by 2050, despite its continued focus on ramping up oil and gas production capacity in the kingdom.

Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Executive Committee of Adnoc’s board of directors said the agreement marks the “activation of a strategic, long-term plan to further decarbonise Adnoc’s operations sustainably.”

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the chief executive of Adnoc, said the “landmark clean energy partnership with EWEC will make Adnoc the first major oil and gas company to decarbonise its power at scale through a clean power partnership of this kind.”

“It also directly supports our goal to remain one of the lowest carbon intensity operators in the oil and gas industry,” he added.

EWEC-leading solar energy efforts

UAE’s EWEC boasts a growing portfolio of renewable and clean energy projects, led by Noor Abu Dhabi— the world’s largest single-site solar power plant, it said.

“Noor Abu Dhabi produces approximately 1.2 gigawatts of power resulting in a carbon footprint reduction of 1 million metric tonnes per year,” Adnoc added.

The company is also developing the Al Dhafra Solar PV IPP project, which is likely to be the “world’s largest single-site solar power plant, using approximately 4 million solar panels”.

“Upon full commercial operation, Al Dhafra Solar PV is expected to reduce Abu Dhabi’s CO2 emissions by more than 2.4 million metric tonnes per year,” according to Adnoc.

In addition, EWEC is supporting the integration of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant into the Abu Dhabi grid.

Lightning project

Adnoc is also poised to develop the region’s first high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) subsea transmission system to connect Adnoc’s offshore production facilities to Abu Dhabi Power Corporation (ADPower)'s onshore electricity grid.

Adnoc said its HVDC subsea power transmission project is expected to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the company's offshore production facilities by up to 30%.

The transmission system will comprise two independent subsea HVDC transmission links and converter stations that will connect to ADPower’s onshore electricity grid and provide a total installed capacity of 3200 megawatts, Adnoc earlier said.

The Lightning project will be “replacing the existing offshore localised gas turbine generators with diverse, more efficient and environmentally sustainable sources of energy, including renewable and nuclear power”.

Adnoc has stated in the past that the HVDC transmission system will drive operational efficiencies as well as system reliability through ADPower’s onshore power grid supply, and support Adnoc's strategic objective to remain one of the world’s lowest-cost and lowest-emitting oil producers.

The Lightning project is likely to be operational by 2025 and will be funded through a special-purpose vehicle jointly owned by Adnoc and ADPower with 30% apiece, and the selected developers and investors with 40%, Adnoc said last year.

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