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Big Oil Consortium Pledges $1B in Low-Carbon Technology, Maximizing NatGas Benefits

CEOs of 10 of the biggest oil and gas companies in the world -- although none based in the United States -- each pledged Friday to invest an average of $100 million a year over the next decade in "climate investments" to create low-carbon technologies that would, among other things, reduce methane emissions from operations.

The $1 billion in collective funding over 10 years by members of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) came the same day the global climate treaty negotiated last year in Paris went into force (see Daily GPIDec. 14, 2015). The consortium, whose members represent more than 20% of the world's oil and natural gas production, are BP plc, China National Petroleum Corp., Eni SpA, Petroleos Mexicanos, Reliance Industries Ltd., Repsol SA, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Saudi Arabian Oil Co., Statoil ASA and Total SA.

"Through discussions with stakeholders and detailed technical work, the OGCI has identified two initial focus areas: accelerating the deployment of carbon capture, use and storage; and reducing methane emissions from the global oil and gas industry in order to maximize the climate benefits of natural gas," members said. "The OGCI believes that these are areas where the oil and gas industry has meaningful influence and where its collaborative work can have the greatest impact."

Investments are planned to support "improving energy and operational efficiencies in energy-intensive industries," as well as working with manufacturers "to increase energy efficiency in all modes of transportation."

Creating OGCI Climate Investments is expected to have a "considerable multiplier effect," the CEOs said. "This will come from partners investing alongside OGCI Climate Investments, as well as our own and other companies' investments in deploying commercialized technologies." The funding "shows our collective determination to deliver technology on a large-scale that will create a step change to help tackle the climate challenge. We are personally committed to ensuring that by working with others our companies play a key role in reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, while still providing the energy the world needs."

The OGCI, with United Nations backing, was formed to find ways for industry to support efforts to tackle climate change while continuing to produce reserves (see Daily GPIOct. 16, 2015).

Some environmental groups said the collective $1 billion pledge over 10 years wasn't enough. "Given that the world has to mobilize trillions of dollars a year for clean energy within that timeframe, if the Paris goal is to be realized, this is quite simply nowhere near good enough," said Carbon Tracker Initiative Chairman Jeremy Leggett.

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