Major oil and gas companies announce commitments on climate change

On Friday (Oct. 16) the chief executive officers of ten of the world’s largest oil and gas companies convened in Paris to bring attention to the sector’s role in the global fight against climate change.

The CEOs represented the member companies of the Oil and Gas Climate initiative (OGCI) – BG Group, BP, Eni, Pemex, Reliance Industries, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Statoil and Total – a group which together provides almost a fifth of all oil and gas production and supply nearly 10 percent of the world’s energy.

The OGCI members released a declaration expressing their support for an effective climate change agreement to be reached by the UNFCCC at COP21 in Paris. They also pledged to strengthen their actions to reduce the GHG intensity of the industry’s operations, and to increase the investments to contribute to the provision of energy in a sustainable and affordable manner. In particular they committed to increase their investment in gas, renewables and low-carbon technologies like CCS. Other commitments included the reduction of flaring and methane emission, while increasing investment in R&D was mentioned in the document as long term goal.

On the same day OGCI released a Report in support of its pledges, showing in particular that total GHG emissions from the companies’ combined operations have decreased by about 20 percent since 2005.

The publication explains that oil industry will be influenced by several future drivers: integrating climate change into mainstream corporate strategy, pursuing renewable technologies and investing in low greenhouse gas R&D and start-ups. It yet does not describe how such trends will be adopted in practice, leaving room for further analysis to be carried out. ‘OGCI member companies will regularly and consistently report on our progress’, concludes the Report.

One element not included in either of the two documents was the establishment of a global carbon price. No official position was taken during the meeting, despite in June six of the ten companies wrote an open letter to the UNFCCC calling for governments to impose a price on carbon dioxide emissions. As The Guardian reports, BP’s CEO Bob Dudley commented that “In any case, the world itself is not united on carbon pricing”.

The meeting comes shortly before the UNFCCC gathering Bonn, on Monday (Oct. 19), in the last negotiating round before COP21.


(Image: Oil and Gas Climate Initiative CEOs present at the event in Paris, Oct. 16 2015 .: Helge Lund, BG Group; Bob Dudley, BP; Claudio Descalzi, Eni; Emilio Lozoya, Pemex; Josu Jon Imaz, Repsol; Amin Nasser, Saudi Aramco; Eldar Sætre, Statoil; and Patrick Pouyanné, Total. Photo credit: BP Global Press Releases).