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 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. Future reporting will show our progress with and without the use of offsets.
We intend to report our progress against the target on an annual, calendar-year basis. Read more about our target.
In 2018, we worked to develop an implementation plan that strengthens 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 emission reduction projects through our marginal abatement cost curve (MACC) process to assess completeness of the project list. We added 11 new projects to our inventory. Several projects are now part of our Long-Range Plan, including non-condensable gas co-Injection in Canada and air-assisted flares in some Eagle Ford facilities.
- Business units developing fit-for-purpose plans that focus on further emission 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 to implement the target and 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. In 2018, emissions intensity decreased slightly as an increase in emissions associated with continued development of Surmont oil sands and increased drilling, production and flaring in Lower 48, were more than offset by increased CO2 sales for beneficial use, discontinued operation of some assets and methane reductions.
While we made strong progress in meeting the target during the first two 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 12 years before the target end date and we would expect GHG intensity to increase as natural gas and oil fields deplete and more energy is required to produce the same or lower volumes. 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 12 years and more accurately reflect actual performance. 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, we expect an increase in intensity from 2018 to 2019 due to the upcoming disposition of our U.K. business unit, which is comprised of lower-intensity offshore developments.
We built in a five-year review process, similar to what is proposed in the Paris Agreement. If our emission 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.
We have carried out discretionary projects that have reduced GHG emissions by almost 7 million tonnes CO₂e per year since 2009, compared to business as usual. Our 2018 gross operated global business-as-usual GHG emissions have been reduced by approximately 26% as a result of these discretionary projects. We continued our voluntary emissions reduction program in 2018, with projects reducing GHG emissions in the U.S., Canada, Norway, Australia and the U.K. We are one of 59 companies participating in The Environmental Partnership in the U.S., a coalition of natural gas and oil companies working to improve methane emissions management. As part of our commitment, our U.S. Lower 48 operations have focused on two key areas:
- Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) programs — We conducted more than 4,300 site surveys across our assets to detect leaks and quickly repair them. While this is a regulatory requirement in many areas, over 60% were done voluntarily. These surveys continue to provide a better understanding of where leaks occur and what we can do to minimize fugitive emissions.
- Pneumatic device evaluation and conversion — All high-bleed pneumatic controllers have been removed or replaced and we are focused on greenfield designs to reduce pneumatic emissions at new facilities. We have a complete inventory of pneumatic devices and continue to evaluate solutions to reduce emissions.
Other reduction projects in the U.S. include:
- Our Lower 48 business unit is coordinating with our corporate technology team to test the effectiveness of drone technology for detecting methane leaks from our operations. A pilot project was initiated in the Eagle Ford in late 2018.
- In the Bakken, natural gas from production must be less than a specified temperature to be eligible to go into the midstream pipeline; if it is not it may be flared. By having gas chillers available, we can get more gas and reduce flaring.
In Canada, GHG reduction projects include: