Below is the transcript of an interview with The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company's Chief Executive, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, and CNBC's Middle East Anchor Hadley Gamble at the Downstream Investment Forum.
HG: Doctor Sultan, thank you so much for joining CNBC. We're very excited to finally have you on. Talk to me a little bit about this multibillion dollar downstream growth plan. What's happening at ADNOC?
SA: This is in fact a natural extension for other Abu Dhabi's engagement in the oil and gas sector. In our view, ADNOC should, and ADNOC can, engage in the downstream sector. This is not new to ADNOC. ADNOC has already made some serious investments in the downstream, but now it is time that we expand our portfolio significantly. The way we're going to do this is going to be very smart, centered around what we do best, and that is establishing long term strategic partnerships. And we are in the business of value maximization. We're going further and downstream will help stretch the dollar from every barrel we produce. And this is exactly our approach and this is going to be what we aim to achieve.
HG: You're talking about having multiple partners, you're talking about a really international growth strategy as well. How does the Trump impacting your business today?
SA: In fact this is in line with our leadership's directives to help diversify our economy and the UAE, I know for ADNOC to continue playing its important role in helping the economic growth in the country. ADNOC continues to be focused on upstream. Yet this time around ANOC will expand its business focus and to downstream by creating many multibillion dollar opportunities in the downstream. We see a huge growth opportunity in the downstream market. We see the growth coming mainly from the east and this is the market we are going to be very much focused on.
HG: Talk to me a little about the opportunities with Saudi Arabia for example…when you look at what's happening in the region there's a lot of growth coming from Saudi Arabia, there's a lot of focus on what's happening there next. Are there any opportunities where ADNOC can…
SA: No, I'd rather focus on…
HG: None whatsoever?
SA: I'd rather focus on our projects
HG: When you talk about what's happening next in terms of the global growth trajectory, the global growth story, you mentioned Asia, what's exciting to you in Asia today?
SA: I couldn't hear you.
HG: What's exciting to you in Asia today?
SA: Asia…when we look at the whole value chain of hydrocarbons we find that oil and gas will continue to be the essential part of the energy mix that will continue to grow. Having said that, downstream opportunities, mainly refining the derivatives as well as petrochemicals, is going to be the only segment of the hydrocarbon business value chain that is going to grow, and in fact double in the next 20 years. Most of this growth is actually coming from Asia. And as such, ADNOC is aiming to expand its business involvement and engagement with our Asian partners as well as other partners from all over the world to help expand ADNOC's footprint through its products and through its investments and projects in the Asian markets.
HG: So a lot of opportunities for growth, a lot of big plans for ADNOC, but when you look at what's happening globally, you've got a lot of worries about what's going to happen with this China-tariff situation with the United States, a lot of worries about what's going to happen next with Iran, a lot of conversations surrounding what that might do to the oil price. How do you strategize given the fact that we've got so many geopolitical headwinds?
SA: ADNOC, I can comfortably say today, that ADNOC is in fact a very resilient and flexible organization. We have very much focused on our efficiency across the value chain of our business. We have enhanced our margins and our profitability, we executed commerciality across our business and every step of the way. And as such such matters whether they happen or not we will continue to stay focused on efficiency and profitability and will be able to manoeuvre throughout the different market dynamics.
HG: And is there a specific oil price that is good for ADNOC?
SA: We always aim for the highest possible price. Having a consultation of course that this price would also allow for not only more revenue streams but also bigger opportunities and the upstream which would lead to further investment in the downstream.
HG: So, what's next for you?
SA: Well, we continue to look for opportunities in the Upstream and the midstream and the downstream. Again we are a company that is very much focused on value maximization, we are in the business of maximizing value for our shareholders. And as such, we are very determined to invest in the downstream to stretch the dollar from every barrel we produce.
For more information contact Jonathan Millman, EMEA Communications Executive: Jonathan.Millman@cnbc.com / +44 7788 307 996
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