Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Managing Director and Group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), was honoured with the ‘Energy Executive of the Year Award for 2021’ by Energy Intelligence, validating the UAE’s vision for a sustainable energy future.
The 'Energy Executive of the Year Award' is the most prestigious in the energy industry and is a testament to the UAE’s diversified energy leadership, progressive approach to the energy transition, and pioneering climate action. It recognises the UAE’s approach to creating economic opportunity from all its energy sources as well as a life of service to the nation by Dr. Al Jaber, and sends a message to the youth to give back to a country that has given so much to its people.
Receiving the award virtually at the Energy Intelligence Forum, Dr. Al Jaber explained how decisive the support of the UAE Leadership and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was.
“The fact is, I would not be receiving this award today without the vision and continuous guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. He enabled everything I have achieved so far, both at Adnoc and beyond Adnoc. He has challenged me to push the boundaries of the possible. He has inspired me with his wisdom and guidance. And when times were tough, his support has been unwavering. I also owe a great deal to my family, who have been with me, and there for me, through everything."
"You, my colleagues across the energy industry, have also been essential. You have given me insight, support, and advice at key moments, and I thank you for that. And, importantly, I would like to recognize the tireless efforts of my colleagues at all levels, as well as all our partners across our businesses. This is an award built on the work of many. It is proof that we succeed together, in partnership," he said.
“Finally, my thanks to Energy Intelligence – not just for organising this award, but for all they do to deepen our understanding of the energy industry,” Dr. Al Jaber said.
Tracing his career journey, Dr. Al Jaber credited the Founding Father of the UAE, the late His Highness Sheikh Zayed with providing opportunities for him and UAE citizens to fulfill their potential.
“From an early age, I always wanted to be an engineer and it was my dream to work at Adnoc. And growing up in the UAE of Sheikh Zayed, I was given the opportunity to fulfill that dream. Our founding father built a nation that shared its wealth with all its people and encouraged its young people to be all they could be. My father was part of that generation. He pushed me to work hard and to never give anything less than everything I had to give. Importantly, he taught me to always show my love of my country through my actions and by giving back," he said.
“These values have guided me every day, every step of the way. And if there is one thing I want to give back to my country today, it is to pass on to my children and the next generation of Emiratis the most important lessons I have learned. That good work is hard and that hard work is good. And that you can forget you are tired if you never forget that you are making an impact,” he said.
In awarding Dr. Al Jaber the Energy Executive of the Year Award for 2021, Energy Intelligence noted his role in mapping a path of modernization for national oil companies. He was elected by the leaders of the world’s top energy companies and is the 25th winner of this distinguished honor. The last two recipients of the award were Amin Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, and Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell.
The energy landscape has evolved significantly over the past five years he has been at the helm and the industry must remain agile and adapt to a variety of externalities, according to Dr. Al Jaber.
“Climate action is fundamentally reshaping the geopolitics, the economics, and the policies of the energy system. New energies are rebalancing the energy mix. And emerging technologies are disrupting established business models. Given these disruptions, we must be agile in future-proofing our businesses. We must continue to make core investments to keep up with growing demand. And we must do all this, as the world continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. In short, the role of the energy executive today is more complex than it has ever been,” he said.
Dr. Al Jaber went on to detail how his career journey led him to Masdar and the foresight of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed in establishing the company.
“Back in 2006, some thought launching Abu Dhabi’s Future Energy Company, Masdar, was a strange move for a major oil-producing nation,” he explained. “Yet, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed knew where the world was heading and wanted to get ahead of the curve. In fact, our leadership viewed investment in clean, renewable energy as a natural and logical extension of Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s role as a global energy leader and an opportunity to develop new partnerships, new knowledge, new skills and new jobs.”
Dr. Al Jaber also noted that the UAE has since gone on to establish itself as a leader in renewable energy with three of the largest and lowest-cost solar plants in the world, while its wind and solar portfolio has grown to 13 gigawatts in over 30 countries, in five continents.
On Adnoc’s transformation, Dr. Al Jaber recalled the challenging market dynamics when he was appointed as CEO and provided an insight into the motivation of the UAE Leadership in directing the company’s transformation.
“Our Leadership saw this as an opportunity that should not be wasted. An opportunity to transform our company. We focused on performance, profitability, and efficiency, embedding technology across the organisation and underpinning everything with HSE,” he said, adding that people were at the core of Adnoc’s strategy and they will always be the “magic ingredient.”
During his speech, Dr. Al Jaber rallied the oil and gas industry to embrace the opportunities being created by the energy transition and highlighted the steps Adnoc is taking in this regard.
“We should embrace this transition as a unique opportunity for growth. Opportunity is what is driving Adnoc’s investment into new zero-carbon energies like hydrogen. Opportunity is shaping the business case for our carbon capture technologies. And opportunity is creating a premium for the most carbon-efficient barrels in the world," he said.
“At the same time let us remember that the energy transition is exactly that – a transition that will require a mix of energies that we provide. Together, our companies represent the few who have lifted the many to attain the most prosperity in history. Now our mission is to continue to supply the energy for that prosperity, using the lowest carbon sources available,” he said.
Concluding his remarks, Dr. Al Jaber stressed that UAE is committed to working with partners across the world to turn opportunities into reality when supplying the world with sustainable energy.
Since Dr. Al Jaber became Group CEO of Adnoc in 2016, the company has consolidated its businesses and unified its brand identity; expanded its crude oil production capacity to over four million barrels per day; embarked on a significant expansion of its downstream business; completed the initial public offering (IPO) of Adnoc Distribution and Adnoc Drilling; launched the Murban Futures Contract on ICE Futures Abu Dhabi; concluded Abu Dhabi’s first and second competitive exploration block bid rounds; launched the UAE’s unconventional industry; completed several landmark infrastructure investment deals and strategic equity partnerships; and driven over $64.5 billion in foreign direct investment to the UAE, amongst other notable achievements.
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