Oil is the world’s primary source of energy. The need to minimize the environmental impact of extracting this crucial resource has long engaged the attention of nations around the world. Many countries, including Guyana, have signed onto the Paris Agreement which calls for the reduction of greenhouse gases. Several oil and gas companies have also committed to improving their carbon footprint.
American multinational ExxonMobil has invested billions of dollars over the past two decades in this regard which has served to help reduce the release of tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions.
According to ExxonMobil’s latest Energy and Carbon Summary, the company has categorically stated that it supports the goals of the Paris Agreement while noting that it focuses on the dual challenge of meeting the growing demand for energy to support economic development around the world while minimizing environmental impacts and the risks of climate change.
Getting to specifics, the company said that over the past two decades, it has invested nearly US$10B in technology and programmes. This includes the development of carbon capture and storage equipment to reduce emissions which has resulted in efforts that have limited or avoided more than 400 million metric tons of CO2.
“We are also working to reduce flaring, venting and fugitive emissions in our operations. Since 2000, we eliminated or captured and stored 400 million metric tons of CO2, equivalent to the energy-related CO2 emissions of about 55 million U.S. homes over the same period, using a variety of technologies,” the company has said.
ExxonMobil was also keen to note that the Paris Agreement does not contemplate or require companies to decrease production to align with the goal of maintaining global temperature rise below two degrees celcius. The company said improved efficiency, effective government policies, and informed consumer choices are more effective measures to address demand.
As governments around the world implement policies to meet their respective emission reduction goals, ExxonMobil pointed out that demand for more carbon intensive energy products will be reduced. It stated however that even with low carbon emission scenarios, a growing and increasingly prosperous global population will increase energy demand and still require significant investment in new supplies of oil and natural gas.
The International Energy Agency’s most aggressive forecast for the implementation of emission reduction policies estimates that the world will still need 67 million barrels of oil per day by 2040. It also estimates that US$20 trillion of additional oil and gas investment is needed just to keep up with the demand and avoid shortfall supply. This suggests an investment of US$30B per year which ExxonMobil said is consistent with the company’s investment outlook.
The oil major said it is positioned to continue to play a prominent role in meeting these future needs while continuing efforts to reduce the release of greenhouse gases.
In Guyana, the Liza Destiny FPSO producing oil at the Stabroek Block, where ExxonMobil is operator, was designed to ensure there is no routine flaring in its daily operations. However, a challenge with a gas compressor in May meant that safety measures had to be activated, resulting in longer than usual flaring. The company has said it is working assiduously to resolve the issues and has since cut production to reduce the volume of gas being flared.