HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and ADNOC Group CEO, has held a series of meetings with government and corporate leaders in Beijing, focused on strengthening the strategic relationship between the UAE and China and deepening the partnerships between ADNOC and China's energy, chemical and technology sectors.
HE Dr Al Jaber met with Wang Yi, minister of foreign affairs of the People’s Republic of China and with Ning Ji Zhe, and vice chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), where business and economic relations between the UAE and China were discussed, including growing cooperation between the two countries in the technology, energy, chemical, investment and commercial sectors.
China is the UAE’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade growing 800 fold, in the three decades since formal relations were established, to top $50bn per annum.
HE Dr Al Jaber highlighted the significant progress made in developing the close ties between the UAE and China and expressed the keen interest of the UAE leadership to further enhance those relationships.
Prior to his meeting with HE Wang YI, HE Dr Al Jaber met with senior officials from Huawei Technologies, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, during a visit to the Zhongguancun technology hub, in the Haidan District of Beijing.
HE Dr Al Jaber said: “ADNOC’s focus on the application of advanced technology, in support of its 2030 growth strategy, is one area where China’s experience in developing artificial intelligence and predictive data, through companies such as Huawei, could be deployed to create additional value from its resources. ADNOC is keen to advance and lead the digitisation of the oil and gas industry.”
As part of its transformation objectives, ADNOC is exploring how advanced technologies and applications, such as machine learning, neural networks, predictive data and artificial intelligence, could help enhance efficiency, productivity and profitability across the oil and gas value chain.
ADNOC launched its two digital command centres Panorama and Thamama in 2017, where data from its subsurface and surface operations is captured, analysed and incorporated to decision making.
During his visit, HE Dr Al Jaber also met with Wang Yilin, chairman of China National Petroleum Company; Frank Ning, chairman of Sinochem; Zengtai Liao, president of Wanhua Chemical Group; and Tu Guangshao, vice chairman and president, China Investment Corporation. Discussions focused on ADNOC’s expanded approach to partnerships and co-investment opportunities created by ADNOC’s 2030 growth strategy.
“China represents a key strategic partner for the UAE and the growing ties between Chinese companies and ADNOC is a testament to the depth and importance of the relationship,” said HE Dr Al Jaber. “We are keen to explore how ADNOC can continue to serve the growing demand for energy, and, in particular, for chemical and petrochemical products in China, as a key growth market.”
In the past year, China and the UAE have made a number of co-investments in the energy sector. In February 2017, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China CEFC Energy were awarded minority stakes in the UAE's onshore oil reserves. And, in November of 2017, ADNOC and CNPC signed a framework agreement covering various areas of potential collaboration, including offshore opportunities and sour gas development projects.
Meanwhile, ADNOC is focused on market expansion in China and Asia, where demand for petrochemicals and plastics, including light-weight automotive components, essential utility piping and cable insulation, is forecast to double by 2040. China is the largest export customer in Asia for Borouge, a petrochemicals joint venture between ADNOC and Borealis, accounting for 1.2 million tonnes per year of polyolefins, equal to one third of its sales worldwide.
Group wide, as part of the 2030 strategy, ADNOC is undertaking a major downstream expansion aimed at tripling petrochemical production by 2025. More than 40% of a $109bn CAPEX programme will be directed at this goal over the next five years, as ADNOC builds out the Ruwais complex to create the largest refining and chemical site in the world. The company is also on track to expand crude capacity to 3.5 million barrels per day, so that ADNOC continues to be a reliable supplier of fuel as demand grows, particularly in Asia.
During his visit, HE Dr Al Jaber also met with Jin Li Qun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Bank (AIIB), as the UAE’s representative on the bank’s board of governors. He was briefed on the progress of the bank in funding infrastructure projects, as part of China’s ‘Belt and Road’ strategy.