This year, COP28 is taking place in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, one of the world’s largest producers of oil and gas.

Oil and Gas Giant

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a global economic powerhouse, which has been mostly fuelled by its substantial production of oil and gas. Due to the country’s large fossil fuel reserves, the UAE ranks as one of the leading oil producing nations in the world.

Since oil was first discovered in the UAE in the 1950s, the country has transformed into a nation with a strong economic landscape. The largest emirate, Abu Dhabi, contains the largest proven oil reserve within the United Arab Emirates. The turning point for the country was the discovery of the Zakum Oil Field in the 1960s, making the UAE one of the world’s major exporters.

In recent years, the COP28 host country has invested in the exploration, development, and extraction of its oil resources. This has made the UAE a major player in the global energy market.


Oil and gas remain pivotal for the country’s economy, although the economy has diversified through the focus shifting towards tourism, real estate, and technology. Dubai has also reduced its dependence on oil revenues to move the economy’s focus away from fossil fuels.


The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, also known as ADNOC, is Abu Dhabi’s national oil company. The company is at the forefront of the UAE’s oil and gas industry. ADNOC has formed partnerships around the world with several oil companies to maximise the extraction and processing of fossil fuels.

ADNOC have also taken significant strides to development the UAE’s natural gas resources. The country has invested in new technology to increase its extraction and processing to meet growing demand and increase exports.

One of the largest projects the UAE has established, was the expansion of the Shah Gas Development project in Abu Dhabi at the Shah Gas Field. This gas field produces sour gas which contains high levels of sulphur. This type of gas is much harder to process, creating a further increase in emissions.


The announcement of the United Arab Emirates, one of the ten oil producing countries making it a petrostate, was followed by controversy.

Petrostate – or oil state. A country that relies on oil and gas
extraction as their primary source of income.

This controversy has been heightened since reports have stated that leaked documentation from the UAE surrounding COP28 have claimed that the country was using the event to carry out talks to increase oil and gas projects.

There is a strong sense of worry, that this year’s COP28 will not focus enough on reducing the use of fossil fuels, especially as the president of the event is the CEO of ADNOC.

The president of COP28 is the CEO of ADNOC.

It is planned at this year’s, COP28, that all countries must revise their NDCs or their Nationally Determined Contributions to make them more comprehensive, meaning that countries must have clearer plans for reaching their pledges to mitigate climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

In regards to the UAE and energy, the president and host of COP28, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber and the EU Climate Commissioner and Chief COP28 Negotiator, Wopke Hoekstra agreed that one of the main priorities for COP28 would be that:


‘The Commission is also planning to announce a financial contribution
in support of the COP28 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency pledge
and invites countries to do the same during the
World Climate Action Summit.’

For further information and up to date news on COP28 and its themes, please see our COP28 Focus homepage where you can access all of our guides, news, and reports from the event.