Home » Italy and UAE energy companies discuss partnerships toward COP28

Italy and UAE energy companies discuss partnerships toward COP28

by Mohammad Ghazal

Hosted by the Embassy of Italy in Abu Dhabi, in partnership with Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy’s leading business newspaper, the seminar “Italy and the UAE towards COP28 – private sector engagement for energy transition” focused on identifying new opportunities of collaboration and solutions to address the energy transition.

Following the Declaration on enhanced cooperation towards COP28 between Italy and the UAE signed by Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani and Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and President-designate of COP28, Italian companies – world leaders in technological solutions for clean energy – want to contribute to the energy transition and to make COP28 a COP of Action and a COP for All.

Commenting on the seminar Antonio Tajani, Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, said “Together with Prime Minister Meloni, in early March I signed with the UAE Minister of Industry and President-designate of COP28, Sultan Al Jaber, a declaration to strengthen cooperation between Italy and the Emirates in view of COP28.

The seminar organised by the Embassy in Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with Il Sole 24 Ore, is an immediate operational follow-up to this declaration.

Italy and the UAE already have a solid energy partnership. But there are significant growth margins that we intend to pursue. The green transition, for example, offers great opportunities. The Italian companies in the sector, which boast globally recognised technological excellence, are ready to collaborate with those from the UAE and to develop mutually beneficial projects together”.

The event started with the welcoming remarks of H.E. Lorenzo Fanara, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE, and Mirja Cartia d’Asero, CEO Gruppo Sole 24 Ore.

Underlining the importance of the commitment of all stakeholders, H.E. Lorenzo Fanara, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE, said: “If we want to win it the challenge of the energy transition, we have to change our approach, bringing together all the parties of our community, including the private sector and our public opinion. We would be destined to fail if we thought that governments alone could tackle climate change. We need the contribution of all.”

“The UAE has pledged to adopt an inclusive approach, making COP28 a COP for action and a COP for all. The youth and the private sector are two crucial actors that need to be involved.” added H.E. Lorenzo Fanara.

Moderated by Laura La Posta, Managing Editor Head of Special Projects at Il Sole 24 Ore, Hanan Balalaa, Senior Vice President, New Energies and Hydrogen ADNOC; Marco Piredda, Head of International Affairs Analysis and Business Support ENI; Nikolas Meitanis, Executive Director of Strategy and Corporate Development MASDAR; NiccoloÌ Heilpern, Region Vice President MAIRE; Ruggero Arico’, Head of International Institutional Affairs ENEL; Umberto Tavolato, Director of International Relations Med-Or Foundation, shared their views around the topic “The Road to COP28: building partnerships for climate action” during the first panel discussion.

Talking about the bilateral relationship between Italy and UAE, Umberto Tavolato, Director of International Relations at the Med-Or Foundation, said: “The signing of a strategic partnership is the culmination of an incremental engagement reflecting the importance of the UAE for Italy. The UAE has emerged as a leading player in the Arab world and can be an invaluable partner for Italy in the Broader Mediterranean.”

Discussing how Italian know-how is being exported to help the UAE develop the circular economy on an industrial scale, NiccoloÌ Heilpern, Region Vice President MAIRE, illustrated how the Group has been supporting the United Arab Emirates since the 90s in the development of the energy transformation industry. As part of the energy transition, last November Maire inaugurated a polymer (plastic) upcycling plant in the Kezad industrial area in Abu Dhabi. This new plant is able to recycle various types of polymers and convert them into products with higher added value.

“With more than 30 years of presence in the UAE, MAIRE continues to support the industrial vision of the country thanks to its technological approach and its distinctive skills in the transformation of natural resources, as evidenced by the strategic Borouge 4 project, currently running in Abu Dhabi. Today we are also working alongside the UAE to industrialise the energy transition with some initiatives such as, for example, the construction of a low carbon impact ammonia plant in the industrial district of TA’ZIZ. Furthermore, MAIRE has recently inaugurated the polymer upcycling plant in Kezad: an example of the Italian know-how which is now being exported to help countries such as the Emirates develop the circular economy and which has made MAIRE a recognised player at international level. global” said Mr.Heilpern.

The second panel saw on stage Mr. Zouheir Sabra, Group Chief Financial & Investment Officer BEEAH; Daniela Gentile, CEO Ansaldo Green Tech; Alessandro Motta, Head of Public Affairs SAIPEM; Giovanni Chianetta, CEO Global Solar Council; Andrea Lovato, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Hydrogen ACWA Power; and Pietro Calugi, General Manager Intesa Sanpaolo Abu Dhabi branch, IMI Corporate & Investment Banking Division, led by Ms. La Posta in the discussion around the topic “Italy and the UAE: the business case for the green transition”.

Talking about the role of recycling in the future success of circular economy and the mid- and long-term the evolution of waste-to-energy Mr. Zouheir Sabra, Group Chief Financial & Investment Officer BEEAH, said: “As a sustainability pioneer based in the UAE, BEEAH Group is driven to support the national agenda and global agenda for climate action. We continue to develop our end-to-end, integrated approach to the waste management chain and further contribute to the circular economy. We see a ‘zero-waste’ future as essential to achieving net-zero targets. By producing alternative material and products, reducing the extraction of resources from the earth, minimising dependence on landfills and exploring waste-to-energy solutions, we can create an environment that is free of waste and accumulating emissions.”

“Italy has long been a key ally for the UAE on areas of mutual interest and global cooperation, including climate change, energy transition and security, and more. Italy and the UAE are already exploring further collaborations ahead of COP28, a pivotal moment for climate action across the world. As BEEAH Group, we have seen how collaboration can help accelerate towards sustainability targets. Our zero-waste, net-zero strategies have been successful through dialogue, knowledge exchange and innovation with our partners, locally and internationally, including in Italy.”

“The United Arab Emirates have an ambitious energy policy which plans to reach 14 GW from renewable sources by 2030, of which about 8 GW from photovoltaic plants, sources that are by their nature intermittent and we are well aware that the energy they generate can be synchronised with peak demand. To make renewable energy usable, storage systems are needed, which represent the first real urgency for the energy transition” explained Daniela Gentile, CEO of Ansaldo Green Tech. “Ansaldo Green Tech responds to this urgency with various energy storage technologies, together with the development of electrolysis technologies for the production of hydrogen”.

Talking about the collaborations between Italian companies and the UAE, Alessandro Motta, Head of Public Affairs, SAIPEM, said “Saipem has a historical presence in the UAE dating back to the 1970s. We have carried out numerous large-scale engineering and construction projects. We are present with an important project execution hub and a logistics base for our naval assets in Abu Dhabi and with a branch in Sharjah We are supporting the main customers in the development of projects to increase oil and natural gas production, and we are proposing solutions innovative technologies – including CO2 capture technologies and our remote-controlled drones, for inspections, monitoring and repairs of subsea infrastructures – to reduce the carbon footprint both in the construction phase and in the operation phase of the plants”.

The seminar was part of the “ROAD to TRENTO 2023”, the countdown roadshow to the 2023 edition of the Trento Festival of Economy (Trento, 25-28 May 2023), that includes a series of international meetings to anticipate the issues and theme of the Festival, create networking spaces between Italian and local companies and build synergies in response to present and future challenges.

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