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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 April 2018

Adnoc chief: global growth to inflate energy demand, putting pressure on producers 

Dr Sultan Al Jaber says demand for oil alone is expected to exceed 100 million barrels per day says

Adnoc chief executive Dr Sultan Al Jaber has instigated new business strategies for the state-owned oil giant. Antonie Robertson / The National
Adnoc chief executive Dr Sultan Al Jaber has instigated new business strategies for the state-owned oil giant. Antonie Robertson / The National

Forecast growth in the global economy will push up energy consumption beyond the capabilities of any single energy producer over the next two decades, putting pressure on companies to maintain supply, said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State and group chief executive of state-owned oil major Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation.

Global energy consumption is set to expand by 25 per cent by 2040, with demand for oil alone expected to exceed 100 million barrels per day, the chief executive told a forum in Abu Dhabi organised by American think tank the Atlantic Council.

“We are encouraged by a global economy that is the healthiest it has been in the last decade,” Dr Al Jaber said.

“This economic growth will continue to drive energy consumption, which will expand to a level no single source can meet. As we diversify the energy mix, hydrocarbons will continue to play a vital role in meeting demand.”

Global oil prices hit US$70 per barrel last week, backed by strong demand growth and a fall in oversupply resulting from cuts implemented by Opec members and others. The World Bank forecasts global economic growth to edge up to 3.1 per cent in 2018 from around 2.7 per cent last year.

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Adnoc is creating new strategies and rethinking its business models to maximise value from its assets and meet rising energy demand.

As part of its 2030 strategy, it has announced expansions to offshore, onshore and downstream petroleum activities. In particular, it plans to create the largest integrated refining and chemicals site in the world in the UAE, which will enable it to increase crude refining capacity by 60 per cent and more than triple its petrochemical production, Dr Al Jaber said.

When complete, 20 per cent of Adnoc’s crude will be converted to chemicals, diversifying its range of higher value products to provide a natural hedge to oil price movements.

Fast-developing technology such as artificial intelligence and "big data" will help the sector devise creative solutions to meet rising energy demand. For example, the use of predictive data could help Adnoc to better analyse its operations, above and below ground, the chief executive said.

“Fortunately, we are entering an era where technology has the potential to keep us ahead of the curve. AI has already begun to transform industries as diverse as manufacturing, retail and finance.

“Now, it is being applied to the energy sector, where the possible benefits include minimising disruptions, balancing supply and demand and optimising costs,” Dr Al Jaber said.