Science

IEA to track oil and gas companies' efforts outside of fossil fuels

IEA to track oil and gas companies' efforts outside of fossil fuels”

The oil and gas industry needs to urgently "make clear" what the clean energy transition means for it and what it can do to accelerate that move.

The diverse industry requires a variety of approaches dependant on individual company's circumstances, according to the report, which was produced in co-operation with the World Economic Forum and will be presented at the organization's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday. Every part of the industry needs to consider how to respond.

"No energy company will be unaffected by clean energy transitions", said IEA's executive director Fatih Birol. Doing nothing is simply not an option, "he said".

Liv Hovem, chief executive of DNV GL's oil and gas arm, said: "While the industry is experiencing persistent uncertainty, growing complexity, and new risks, we also see an industry taking bold decisions, building greater efficiencies and rising to long-term challenges as the world pivots towards a lower carbon energy future".

The energy sector can transform without the help of the oil and gas industry, the report reads, but that is a more hard and expensive path.

Some companies have taken steps to address climate change, but the report said the industry as a whole could do more.

The big picture: Some of the world's biggest oil and gas companies are slowly beginning to invest in renewable energy and other technologies to addressing climate change. The leading oil companies spend about 5%, the report said.

Last week Microsoft announced plans to establish a $1bn (£770m) fund dedicated to "carbon reduction, capture, and removal technologies" and aims to become "carbon negative" by 2030.

"The first immediate task for all parts of the industry is reducing the carbon footprint of their own operations".

"Without the input of industry, these technologies may simply not reach the scale necessary to scale up the emissions dial", added Birol.

Birol explains that the first step for all parts of the industry is to reduce the environmental footprint of their own operations, which now account to around 15% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Birol said a large part of these emissions could be brought down relatively quickly and easily by investing in technology that can stop methane leaking from fossil fuel projects into the atmosphere.

The report noted that average investment by oil and gas companies in non-core areas has so far been limited to about 1% of total capital spending, with the largest outlays going to solar and wind power.

The Paris-based agency, which advises industrialised nations on energy issues, said oil and gas companies are facing increasing demands to explain how they intend to reduce emissions in line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement.



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