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Oil majors say progress 'significant' on upstream methane, carbon intensity

Highlights

Methane, CO2 intensity down 22%, 7% since 2017

Sets tougher methane intensity target for 2025

OGCI accounts for over 30% of operated oil, gas output

London — A group of 12 of the world's biggest oil majors said Oct. 19 they made "significant" progress on reducing the methane and carbon emission intensity of their upstream operations last year.

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The collective upstream methane and carbon intensity upstream oil and gas operations was 0.23% and 21.1 kg CO2e per barrel of oil equivalent, respectively, in 2019, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) said. The average upstream carbon intensity figure represents a 7% reduction since 2017 while the methane figure represents a 22% reduction in absolute upstream methane emissions since 2017, the group said.

Established in 2014 to develop ways of cutting the energy intensity and emissions of the oil and gas industry, the OGCI includes BP, Chevron, CNPC, Eni, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Occidental, Petrobras, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Shell and Total. The group, which accounts for over 30% of global operated oil and gas production, pledged in 2016 to invest $1 billion over a decade to develop new low-emissions technology.

The industry initiative has identified two focus areas -- accelerating the deployment of carbon capture, use and storage, and reducing methane emissions from the global oil and gas industry as part of a transition away from oil toward greater reliance on natural gas. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas.

The OGCI said, in addition to making progress on its upstream carbon intensity target of between 20 kg and 21 kg CO2e/boe by 2025, it is now focused on achieving the lower end of the target which would mean a reduction of 13% in carbon intensity against the 2017 baseline. Progress to date has involved reducing the group's absolute upstream (Scope 1 and 2) emissions by 21 million mt of CO2e, OGCI said.

"We are on track to meet our 2025 ambitions. The progress to date is the result of member companies' targeted work on emissions reduction and a variety of decarbonization measures," OGCI Executive Committee Chairman Jerome Schmitt said. "Setting targets that are challenging but achievable is always tough -- especially across so many diverse member companies. Nevertheless, targets are helpful because they focus minds, accelerate action, and inspire others in our sector and across our value chains."

Looking ahead, OGCI said it now focused on collectively lowering its methane intensity to 0.20% by 2025 after having surpassed the original average upstream methane intensity target of 0.25% last year.