Saudi Aramco, other oil giants join efforts to mitigate climate change

Armaco’s main concern is not switching to renewable sources of energy, but reducing the sector’s carbon footprint through methods such as carbon capture and storage.
Tuesday 04/08/2020
Saudi Aramco’s Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia. (REUTERS)
Saudi Aramco’s Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia. (REUTERS)

LONDON --The world’s leading oil companies, including Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil, BP and China National Petroleum Corporation, have put forward a joint agreement that will lead to significant greenhouse gas emission cuts as part of their efforts to mitigate climate change.

The participating oil companies are all members of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), a 12 member coalition of energy companies across the globe.

Established in 2014 with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector, over 30% of the world’s production of oil and gas is accounted for by its members.

OGCI announced its first objective, methane reduction, in September 2018, aiming to cut emission levels by one third and methane intensity by 20% by 2025.

In a report on the organisation, it was made clear that the coalition intends to reduce average carbon intensity of upstream oil and gas operations from 23kg of CO2 equivalent per barrel in 2017 to to 20-21kg in 2025.

In 2019, Saudi Aramco had already achieved its intended reduction to a greater extent than predicted, with an upstream carbon intensity of 10.1kg per barrel.

The group’s carbon intensity will be reported annually, and the data will be reviewed by an independent third party, EY

Bob Dudley, former BP CEO and current OGBI chairman, said “it is a significant measure, it is not the end of the work, it is a near-term target, and we’ll keep calibrating as we go forward.”

He noted that a common methodology has been agreed upon to calculate carbon intensity.

The group’s targets have also been extended to other sectors, including refining in the future and liquified natural gas.

The group’s main concern is not switching to renewable sources of energy, but reducing the sector’s carbon footprint through methods such as carbon capture and storage, which is unlikely to satisfy climate activists that are applying pressure on the sector.

London-based environmental think tank Carbon Tracker has dismissed the OCGI’s claim that targets are aligned with the Paris Agreement. However, it has said that “having some targets to reduce carbon pollution is better than none.”

The think tank’s head of fossil fuels, Andrew Grant, commented: “The industry can never consider itself  ‘aligned’ with the Paris goals when the business plans assume steady investment in fossil fuel production on a planet with absolute limits.”