The International Energy Agency published a Net Zero-aligned scenario in mid-2021 which stated that no new fossil fuel infrastructure should be developed to remain within the 1.5°C temperature goal. However, a research collabortion between Urgewald and the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels shows that oil and gas companies are developing new fields around the world which have more than 100 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions embedded in them.
Over 20 companies have projects in the pipeline which add up to more than a billion tons of embedded CO2e. The largest is Qatar Energy, with 7.4 billion tons embedded in new projects, largely through the expansion of its gas fields (calculated at mid-point ranges of uncertainty and using a 100 year factor for methane). Six out of the 10 companies with biggest emissions embedded are state-owned firms across the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia.
The emissions analysis is based on Urgewald’s Global Oil and Gas Exit List (GOGEL), which uses data from Rystad’s uCube to identify projects already in development. Altogether, GOGEL identified over 800 companies with projects under development in 45 countries, defined as where operators are in advanced field evaluation or have issued a Final Investment Decision.
Western supermajors continue to evolve portfolios of new projects in many countries around the world. For example, ExxonMobil has an estimated 3.1 billion tons of emissions embedded in projects being developed in 14 countries, while Shell has 2.5 billion tons of CO2e embedded in new projects in 21 countries.
The methodology applies the emissions factors developed by the Registry to the reserves identified in the GOGEL list. These cover not only combustion but the supply chain, including operations, transport, methane and fugitive emissions.