The World’s Largest Oil & Gas Producers Commit To Lowering Emissions To Tackle Climate Change

Mon, July 27, 2020

Last week, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), a group that convenes the world’s largest oil and gas companies, pledged to reduce their average carbon intensity, collectively, by 2025. The fossil fuels industry is taking climate change seriously, and is making a commitment to back it up.

OGCI is a CEO-led consortium formed by the twelve largest oil and gas corporations, including three American-based companies: ExxonMobil, Chevron and Occidental. Created back in 2014, the group accounts for over 30 percent of global oil and gas production and collectively invests over $7 billion yearly in low carbon solutions.

In a joint statement, the CEOs of the OGCI member companies said:

"Encouraged by the progress we have made towards our target on methane intensity, we have come together to reduce by 2025 the collective average carbon intensity of our aggregated upstream oil and gas emissions. Together we are increasing the speed, scale, and impact of our actions to address climate change, as the world aims for net zero emissions as early as possible." 

The collective reduction target from OGCI is aligned with the Paris Agreement, and equals reductions between 36 and 52 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year for the next five years. For context, this would equal to the CO2 emitted from energy use in between 4 to 6 million homes, or between 23 and 33 million round trip flights from Houston to Paris, the most common international destination from Texas.

Although the announcement focuses on efforts to reduce carbon intensity globally, proactive actions taken by companies to reduce emissions from oil and gas operations in Texas – America’s largest oil and gas producing state – will play an important role in achieving this all-encompassing goal. In fact, with a third of the OGCI group comprised of American companies with key operations in the Texas’ shale basins, these efforts are already underway.

ExxonMobil, for example, has focused on researching and innovating in a number of key areas around emissions reduction, including: carbon capture and storage initiatives, methane emissions reductions and advanced biofuels. In fact, ExxonMobil has reduced methane emission from its U.S. unconventional production and midstream operations by 20 percent since 2016. To reach this target, the company implemented a strict, proactive leak detection and repair policy, reduced venting, and strengthen its operational equipment controls.

Occidental, another member of OGCI, is one of the largest producers in the Permian Basin. The company has invested heavily in innovative technologies to cut carbon emissions from development. For example, in 2019, a subsidiary of Occidental, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, LLC (OLCV), built a pioneering carbon sequestration facility in the Permian - the Direct Air Capture (DAC) – which removes carbon dioxide from the air to be later used in enhanced oil recovery.

Occidental CEO Vicki Hollub underscored the company’s commitment to reducing emissions at an energy conference at Columbia University in 2019:

“…we're developing now the technology to start to have a smaller footprint, not only from a land perspective environmentally and on our fresh water, but also with respect to emissions. Our commitment is to do that more aggressively."

OGCI’s announcement demonstrates the industry’s willingness to spearhead effective action around climate reduction – without the need for burdensome regulation. This company driven, innovation approach will be key to furthering global climate progress.