Making natural gas a focal point of their carbon reduction efforts, state-sponsored oil companies across the globe are reshaping their business models in response to climate change initiatives, a new report from Moody’s Investors Service finds.
The research report, published Tuesday, examines how more than 20 national oil companies from around the world are adapting in the face of energy transition risks.
For example, in Asia, China National Petroleum Corp., China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (aka Sinopec) and China National Offshore Oil Corp. are targeting national emissions reductions by ramping up natural gas production and transportation efforts, Moody’s Managing Director Steven Wood noted.
Moody’s observed that China is an “active sponsor” of the 2015 Paris Agreement, “incorporating it into the government’s latest five-year plans for the energy, oil and gas, and refining and chemicals sectors, as well as its corresponding 2014-2020 plan to address climate change.”
China’s government has targeted a gross domestic product per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction of 60-65% by the end of 2030, from 2005 levels.
“China aims to reach this goal in part by reducing coal’s contribution to China’s total energy mix by 6% to 58% by the end of 2020, down from 64% in 2015, while increasing non-fossil fuel consumption by 4% and natural gas consumption by 4%,” Moody’s said.
This comes as India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp. is also targeting an increase in natural gas production, and as Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Berhad, aka PETRONAS, has started to build out its renewable energy business, according to the report.
In Europe, Eni in Italy has been aiming to reduce its carbon footprint by raising the share of natural gas in its production portfolio, along with developing more renewable electric generation capacity, Moody’s said.
Also in Europe, “Norway’s Equinor produces emissions significantly below the industry average by running its operations with the least possible” carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions “and is also increasing its investment in renewable energy,” the firm noted.
Meanwhile, global crude supplier Saudi Aramco, aka the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., has looked to increase its natural gas output and has also been investing in renewable energy. Qatar Petroleum, given its large natural gas resources, is “an inherent advocate of cleaner forms of fossil energy,” according to Moody’s.
“Some companies are changing for business reasons and others as a de facto part of their sponsoring governments, while still others are as yet responding only minimally,” Wood said.
Most Latin American national oil companies outside of Argentina’s YPF are not well-prepared for transitioning to a lower emissions marketplace, Moody’s found.
“Brazil’s Petrobras has so far invested only minimally in alternative energy sources and produces little natural gas, though has committed to reducing emissions,” the firm said. “Colombia’s Ecopetrol has adopted its own emissions reduction strategies but has no measures in place to implement inter-country agreements. Meanwhile, high debts and taxation have largely prevented” Pemex, aka Petroleos Mexicanos, “from making any sizeable investment in alternative energy or carbon sequestration.”
Elsewhere, the national oil companies for former Soviet Union countries find themselves exposed to “varying levels of carbon transition risk.” In Russia, Gazprom’s production mix already features 85% natural gas, and Rosneft Oil Co. has moved toward increasing its gas output, Moody’s said. Kazakhstan’s and Azerbaijan’s respective oil companies have also both implemented strategies to reduce energy consumption and emissions, the agency said.
National oil companies aren’t the only ones responding to energy transition risks and attempting to live up to the goals of the Paris Agreement. Last month, BP plc shareholders overwhelmingly approved a resolution to align the business strategy with the 2015 United Nations climate change accord.
Meanwhile, despite no traction on similar issues in recent years by esteemed leaders from both sides of the aisle, 13 Fortune 500 CEOs, including those from BP, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Dominion Energy, DTE Energy and PG&E Corp. called on President Trump and Congress to impose an economy-wide carbon pricing policy and enact climate change reforms.
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