1. What drives sustainability in the Oil & Gas industry?
Most oil companies aim towards achieving cost-efficient and environmentally friendly operations. Companies are incorporating digital tools and automation in their operations to optimise their production strategies. The negative environmental impact of oil and gas activities has led to an unfavourable perception of the oil industry, especially among the younger generation.
The oil industry is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) like carbon dioxide and methane. Several oil and gas majors have set targets to reduce greenhouse gas and net carbon intensity. Companies like Equinor, for example, have targeted near-zero methane emission by 2030 and zero GHG emission and zero net carbon intensity by 2050. Other oil majors (BP, Chevron, Conaco Philips, Eni, Exxon, Repsol, Shell and Total) have targeted significant reductions. However, achieving net zero emissions requires the development of technology for hydrogen as an energy carrier and maturing of technology for carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Another area of particular concern is the effect of chemicals used during various oil and gas production stages. With offshore production estimated to be around 25%-30% of the total output, there has been an increased focus on the chemicals used in upstream operations offshore and their negative impact on oceans and marine life. Major oil companies are focusing on using greener chemical alternatives, especially since environmental authorities (as with the North Sea) have strict requirements on the types of chemicals that can be discharged in the water.