By now, the situation in the oil and gas industry is a familiar one—the COVID-19 pandemic has weakened global energy demand by nearly 30 MMbbl/d less than last year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), with only incremental recovery expected. The historically weak demand has resulted in a global supply glut, pushing oil prices down and forcing producers worldwide to shut in wells and shut down rigs.
But despite the dire circumstances, the world still needs oil, and it will continue to need reliable supplies of energy as it begins the slow process of recovery. Amid these challenging circumstances, oil producers still must abide by state and federal emissions regulations, and many are resolute in maintaining their own internal goals of reducing emissions.
In fact, during the midst of the global energy crisis, both Shell and Total announced new efforts to meet their individual goals of net zero greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 or sooner, with Shell’s efforts among the most ambitious.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic having a serious impact on people’s health and our economies, these are extraordinary times,” said Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, in a release announcing the company’s plans. “Yet even at this time of immediate challenge, we must also maintain the focus on the long term.”
According to the IEA, “Methane emissions from the oil and gas sector reached close to 80 Mt, or 2.4 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent [CO2e], in 2017.” Energy producers around the world ranging from small independents to supermajors have taken on the challenge of reducing the industry’s carbon footprint, and the services market has answered the call with innovative technologies to help companies achieve their goals.