Climate campaigners have said the news that a controversial Abu Dhabi oil company has bought into a carbon capture project in Scotland highlights how the technology is little more than ‘greenwash’ for major polluters’ reckless expansion plans. 

Storegga announced that the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company has invested an undisclosed amount into the company, which is behind the faltering Acorn carbon capture project in the North East. Sultan Al Jaber who is the CEO of ADNOC was also the President of the recent COP28 UN climate talks in the UAE that failed to reach agreement on a fossil fuel phase out.  

ADNOC has the biggest fossil fuel expansion plans in the world, aiming to produce a further 7.3billion barrels of oil equivalent in the coming years.   

A ‘glaring conflict of interest’ at COP28

A BBC investigation alleged that the UAE was using the UN climate talks to strike fossil fuels deals with other nations in the run up to the summit, in what would be a glaring conflict of interest. Amnesty International called for Al Jaber to resign from his role as COP president before the talks due to the fossil fuel expansion plans of ADNOC. 

The Acorn project has repeatedly missed its target dates, with the First Minister this week talking about carbon capture and storage only developing in the North Sea by mid 2030s – Storegga had previously promised to be up and running by 2027. Other partners in the Acorn scheme include oil companies Shell and Harbour Energy. The expansion plan for Peterhead gas- burning power station relies on the Acorn carbon capture scheme.  

Friends of the Earth Scotland climate campaigner Alex Lee (they/them) commented,  

“Once again big polluters are piling in to support their favourite greenwashing scheme in the hope the public will overlook their reckless expansion plans. Oil companies trying to peddle carbon capture technology are little more than scam artists who have already conned the Scottish and UK Government into promising them billions in public money.”   

“As hosts of COP28, the UAE state was accused of abusing its access to try and push more fossil fuels in the most glaring conflict of interest imaginable. With an oil boss at the helm, those crucial talks failed to do what was necessary and commit nations to a fair and fast transition away from the fuels that are bringing misery and destruction around the world.”  

“The Acorn project will never live up to its hype and politicians need to realise that money would be better invested in climate solutions that work today and can create decent green jobs such as home insulation, public transport and affordable renewable energy. “ 

Notes to Editors

Storegga announcement (8/1/24)

Cop28 host UAE has world’s biggest climate-busting oil plans, data indicates

BBC investigation into how the UAE used their position as COP28 hosts to make oil deals.

Amnesty International statement: UAE state oil company’s expansion plans prove chief executive is unfit to lead COP28 climate talks.

Acorn partners include Shell, Harbour Energy and Storegga


Harbour Energy describe themselves as ‘the largest London-listed independent oil and gas company with a leading position in the UK as well as interests in Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico and Norway.’

Storegga previously claimed it would capture and store 1 million tonnes of CO2 by 2027

First Minister speech on Scotland’s industrial policy in an independent Scotland (8/1/24)


Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.