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OGCI announces US$1 billion investment in low emissions technologies

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) has announced that it is to invest US$1 billion in low emissions technologies and show "sector leadership" in the response to climate change. A performative contradiction as the intended investments will focus on "maximising the climate benefits of natural gas by minimising methane emissions along the gas value chain, and on enabling oil and gas to meet energy demand sustainably".

OGCI announce US$1 billion investment (from left – right): Claudio Descalzi, CEO, Eni; Josu Jon Imaz, CEO Repsol; Amin Nasser, CEO Saudi Aramco; Bob Dudley, CEO BP; Ben van Beurden, CEO Shell; Eldar Sætre, CEO Statoil; Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman & CEO, Total. Combined OGCI members produce over one-fifth of global oil and gas production and over 10 percent of energy supply (photo courtesy OGCI).

OGCI announce US$1 billion investment (from left – right): Claudio Descalzi, CEO, Eni; Josu Jon Imaz, CEO Repsol; Amin Nasser, CEO Saudi Aramco; Bob Dudley, CEO BP; Ben van Beurden, CEO Shell; Eldar Sætre, CEO Statoil; Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman & CEO, Total. Combined OGCI members produce over one-fifth of global oil and gas production and over 10 percent of energy supply (photo courtesy OGCI).

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), a CEO-led initiative of ten oil and gas majors to collaborate on action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, has announced a US$1 billion investment vehicle to develop and accelerate the commercial deployment of innovative low emissions technologies over the next decade.

OGCI Climate Investments (OGCI CI) will aim to deploy successfully-developed new technologies among member companies and beyond. It will also identify ways to cut the energy intensity of both transport and industry. Working in partnership with like-minded initiatives across all stakeholder groups and sectors, the OGCI CI believes its emission reduction impact can be multiplied across industries.

In a joint statement, the heads of the ten oil and gas companies that comprise the OGCI said that it “welcomed” the Paris Agreement that comes into effect today, because it sets a “clear direction of travel that will help all actors, governments, industries and individuals, to take appropriate actions and make investments towards a lower emissions future”. The creation of OGCI Climate Investments shows “our collective determination to deliver technology on a large-scale that will create a step change to help tackle the climate challenge. We are personally committed to ensuring that by working with others our companies play a key role in reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, while still providing the energy the world needs.”

CCUS and fossil gas

According to the joint statement, the investment represents an “unprecedented” level of oil and gas industry collaboration and resource-sharing in this space and will complement the companies’ existing low emissions technology programmes drawing on the collective expertise and resources of the member companies. The intention is to fund development and demonstration projects as well as new businesses.

Also in the statement, the OGCI says it has identified two initial focus areas: accelerating the deployment of carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS); and reducing methane emissions from the global oil and gas industry in order to maximise the “climate benefits of natural gas”. The OGCI believes that these are areas where the oil and gas industry has “meaningful influence” and where its collaborative work can have the greatest impact.

Beyond this, OGCI CI will make investments that support improving energy and operational efficiencies in energy-intensive industries. OGCI CI will also work closely with manufacturers to increase energy efficiency in all modes of transportation. A CEO and management team for OGCI Climate Investments will be announced in the near future. The closing of OGCI Climate Investments is subject to customary conditions including regulatory clearances as required.

Performative contradiction

Whilst a US$1 billion investment into technologies that improve efficiencies and reduce emissions is welcome, it all seems an effort to prolong business almost as usual. By their own account the ten OGCI members combined account for over one-fifth of global oil and gas production and over 10 percent of energy supply. It is a performative contradiction given that the intended investments will focus on “maximising the climate benefits of natural gas by minimising methane emissions along the gas value chain, and on enabling oil and gas to meet energy demand sustainably”. After all, was it not our voracious appetite for oil, gas and coal that got us here in the first place?

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