State-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP), the world’s leading liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, has unveiled an ambitious plan to cut emissions and drastically reduce the environmental footprint of its fossil fuel operations. 

The company said its “sustainability strategy” establishes targets to align with the goals of the United Nations climate accord, aka the Paris agreement, drafted in 2015 to mitigate rising global temperatures. The plan aims to cut the emissions intensity at Qatar’s LNG facilities by 25% and by 15% at its upstream facilities.

“Qatar is the world’s largest LNG producer, and by implementing our sustainability strategy, we will play a decisive role in helping reduce the impact of climate change by implementing measures to curb emissions, produce LNG using the latest proven carbon reduction technologies, and compensating for residual emissions where necessary,” said QP CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi.

QP said the strategy calls on deploying carbon capture and storage facilities in the country to trap 7 million tons (Mt) of carbon dioxide each year. It would also require the company to add 4 GW of electricity from carbon-free renewable energy to its portfolio in the country to eliminate more than 5 Mt/year of carbon emissions. 

QP is also aiming to reduce flaring intensity across its upstream facilities by more than 75%, with an overall goal to eliminate “routine flaring” by 2030. It also wants to limit fugitive methane emissions along the natural gas value chain with a methane intensity target of 0.2% across all facilities by 2025. 

Al-Kaabi said the plan ensures “we embed sustainability considerations into the way we plan and manage our entire business and operations.” 

QP joins a growing list of majors, independents and leading energy-consuming countries that have outlined aggressive targets to cut emissions and help fight climate change. 

Qatar exported 77.8 Mt of LNG in 2019, according to the International Group of LNG Importers. As production has increased and more buyers have emerged, pressure is growing to reduce the environmental footprint of the global gas trade. 

With plans to remain dominant in the sector as it has been for decades, QP has been making moves to align with the global climate push. The company signed its first long-term deal late last year to supply LNG that would detail emissions generated to produce and deliver the cargoes. The cargoes delivered would not be offset with carbon emissions credits, but they would include certificates detailing the amount of emissions released between the wellhead and import terminal. 

QP now is working to increase LNG output by 64% from current levels to 126 Mt/year. The company began working on the expansion project last year by drilling wells in the massive North Field. QP ultimately plans to construct another six liquefaction trains, each with a capacity of 8 Mt/year.