GHG Emissions Intensity Target
We have a long-term target to reduce our GHG emissions intensity from five to 15% by 2030 from a Jan. 1, 2017 baseline. The target will support innovation on efficiency and emissions reduction, GHG regulatory risk mitigation and climate-related risk management throughout the lifecycles of our assets.
The target informs climate goals at the business level. Our performance will be based on gross operated GHG emissions, stated in carbon dioxide-equivalent terms, divided by our gross operated production, stated in barrels of oil equivalent. The target is set in relation to our scope 1 emissions and scope 2 gross operated emissions as these are the emissions over which we have the most control. The target covers all GHGs, but in practice will likely apply to carbon dioxide and methane emissions, as our emissions of other greenhouse gases are a small fraction of the total. For comparability purposes we exclude exploration and transportation services (i.e. Polar Tankers and Global Aviation) which are not directly related to oil or gas production from our emissions totals. This may give rise to small differences between the intensity we report for our GHG target purposes and the intensity we report in our annual Sustainability Report. Our current metrics also do not include the use of carbon offsets.
We report our progress against the target on an annual, calendar-year basis. Read more about our principles.
In 2019, we completed our implementation plan to strengthen processes, tools and data required to support achievement of the target. This included:
- Validation of our baseline emissions to attempt to ensure an accurate and well-documented baseline.
- Continued collection and critical review of prospective emissions reduction projects through our marginal abatement cost curve (MACC) process to assess completeness of the project list.
- Business units developing fit-for-purpose plans that focus on further emissions reductions.
- The establishment of emissions-reduction steering groups in many business units to manage the planning process.
- Our North American business units collaborating to share knowledge about methane reduction projects.
- Continued engagement of our workforce to ensure broad alignment on target implementation.
Progress on target performance will be regularly reviewed by executive management and the board.
The 2017 sale of older assets in the U.S. and Canada reduced our GHG emissions intensity significantly. GHG emissions intensity increased in 2019 primarily due to an increase in drilling, production and flaring in the Lower 48 and the disposition of our U.K. business unit. Read more about our Total Flaring Volume.
While we have made strong progress in meeting the target during the first three years as we adjust our portfolio and use new technologies in our developments, we believe we will continue to need a long-term target range for several reasons. First, there are still 11 years before the target end date, and we would expect GHG intensity of our older fields to increase. (As natural gas and oil fields deplete, more energy is required to produce the same or lower volumes, while newer fields utilizing modern technologies are likely to operate at lower intensities.) Second, some of our reported emissions are the result of applying standard emissions factors which may underestimate or overstate our actual emissions. We expect industry technologies around emissions reporting to advance over the next 11 years to more accurately reflect actual performance, which could also increase or decrease our intensity. Third, our portfolio will continue to change over time and, depending on the intensity of new production, our future intensity could increase or decrease. For example, part of the increase in intensity in 2019 was due to the full-year impact of the disposition of our U.K. business unit, which was comprised of lower-intensity offshore developments, while the full-year disposition of our higher intensity West Australia business unit will not be reflected until 2020.
As part of our efforts to continuously improve the quality of our environmental metrics data, in 2019 we honored our commitment to our emissions metrics procedures by working to improve our recording processes to facilitate more consistent and accurate recording and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. We conducted an internal detailed review of our emissions inputs and accounting practices with one of our business units. As a result of the findings from this review, we updated our previously reported air emissions, greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency metrics for 2016, 2017 and 2018. This resulted in a revision of the company totals for these metrics by 1-3% of previously reported totals. This has resulted in small changes to the previously reported GHG intensities.
We built in a five-year review process, similar to what is proposed in the Paris Agreement. If our emissions projections appear to remain at the lower end of the target, we may adjust the target to a lower or smaller range in the future.
Our 2019 gross operated global business-as-usual GHG emissions have been reduced by approximately 26% as a result of discretionary projects since 2009. We continued our voluntary emissions reduction program in 2019, with projects reducing GHG emissions in the U.S., Canada, and Norway.
In the U.S. we are participating in The Environmental Partnership, a coalition of over 80 natural gas and oil companies working to improve methane emissions management. As part of our commitment, our Lower 48 operations have focused on two key areas:
- Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) programs — In 2019, we conducted more than 5,900 site surveys across our assets to detect leaks and quickly repair them. While this is a regulatory requirement in many areas, almost half the surveys were done voluntarily. These surveys continue to provide a better understanding of where leaks occur and how we can minimize fugitive emissions. We continue to explore new technology associated with drones and continuous site monitoring to reduce site emissions. Read more about our drone pilot project.
- Pneumatic device evaluation and conversion — All high-bleed pneumatic controllers have been removed or replaced. Many of our greenfield designs at new facilities include devices to use supplied air instead of site gas to reduce natural gas emissions from pneumatics.
In Canada, GHG reduction projects include:
- The installation of non-condensable gas co-injection in the oil sands to enhance production while reducing energy consumption and emissions. Read more about how we are reducing GHG emissions by over 20% while increasing production.
- The Carbon XPRIZE competition to research technologies to capture and transform CO₂. Read more about the global competition. (link to CCUS section)
In Norway, we worked with one of our offshore suppliers to install batteries on supply vessels to reduce CO₂ by 1,400 tonnes and nitrous oxide by 20 tonnes annually. Read more about the project.