Decarbonizing Oil & Gas Sector

Decarbonization Avenue : Decarbonizing Oil & Gas Sector

The most prominent CO2 emissions from the Oil & gas industry happen downstream, when we use our vehicles for transport. But that is considered as Scope 3 emissions for the industry - something that the industry’s operation does not directly generate.

The oil & gas industry operations in themselves are large contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for about 9 percent of all human GHG emissions - a substantial 4.5 billion tons. In addition, it produces the fuels that create another 33 percent of global emissions.

Interestingly, a significant portion of this industry’s emissions stem from methane emissions, a significant portion of these being fugitive emissions from leaks from inefficient operations. Yet another large contributor for this industry is the flaring of the methane gas at many oil wells around the world.

Some large companies in the industry had started taking measures to abate their greenhouse emissions much earlier than many other industries. They were good, but not good enough.

But the times are a-changin’. Driven by market demands and investor pressures, the industry has set ambitious emissions-related targets in order to survive (and perhaps even flourish) in a future low-carbon world.

Decarbonization potential

Official estimates suggest that 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas are being flared each year, which corresponds to 350 million tons of CO2 emissions. Not surprisingly, the World Bank has a target of "Zero Routine Flaring by 2030" for the industry.

While elimination or minimization of flaring is one significant avenue for emissions reduction, process & energy efficiency, and use of renewable energy in the oil & gas upstream operations, including subsea operations can play an important role in decarbonizing the sector by both decreasing the energy consumed by unit of oil/gas produced and lowering the amount of CO2 emissions per unit of energy used.

Industries impacted

  • Automobiles & auto components
  • Chemicals & petrochemicals
  • Construction & real estate
  • Fertilizers
  • Logistics
  • Oil & gas
  • Power

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Themes & Topics

  • Types of emissions 

    • Direct emissions from operations

    • Indirect emissions from operations

  • Upstream

    • Extraction & drilling

    • Flaring

    • Fugitive emissions & venting

  • Midstream

    • Crude transport

  • Downstream

    • Refinery heat & power operations

    • Hydrogen production

    • Fugitive CH4 emissions

  • Decarbonization through energy efficiency

  • Decarbonization through electrification

  • Flaring

    • Minimization

    • Elimination

    • Targets



  • Leak detection & repair

    • At production / drilling sites

    • In distribution

    • At refineries

  • Low carbon fuels

    • Change of heating fuels

    • Green hydrogen

  • Geographical trends & case studies

    • North America

    • South America

    • Europe

    • Asia

    • Middle East & Africa

    • Oceania

  • Policies & mandates

    • Corporate targets

    • Government & industry mandates

  • Financing for decarbonization






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