As capital continues to dry up for the energy industry amid a historic downturn, a new source of funding has recently been made available for oil and gas companies with projects targeting the reduction of methane emissions.
Following concerns that independent operators may slow down decarbonization projects in the current low-price environment, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) Climate Investments has announced a new program to finance or invest in projects that deliver significant near-term methane emissions reduction.
“Funding companies with technologies that find and fix methane emissions has been a key part of our mandate,” James Mackey, managing director at OGCI Climate Investments, told Hart Energy. “In light of the current environment though, OGCI Climate Investments was concerned that efforts by independent operators to mitigate and fix emissions may be slowed in the wake of the pandemic and low oil price environment. We don’t want companies to lose momentum due to a lack of capital. Therefore, we announced an investment call for projects through which we will invest capital from our fund in global projects that deliver significant near-term methane emissions reduction.”
OGCI Climate Investments is a $1 billion-plus fund that is backed by oil majors and invests in solutions to decarbonize sectors like oil and gas, industrials and commercial transport. The organization currently has six portfolio companies that detect, measure and fix methane emissions.
Methane emissions from global oil and gas operations reached 80 million tonnes in 2019, Mackey said.
“If we can prove that economic and capable business models exist today to stop methane emissions, we can help attract broader investor participation in future emissions reductions projects,” he said.
Methane emissions come from a number of sources throughout the oil and gas value chain, according to Mackey, including flaring and venting, which occur in both shale and conventional operations. He also noted U.S. shale companies, in particular, are among those facing restricted access to capital.
“Our investment call can help accelerate the reduction of methane emissions by closing the capital availability gap that is hindering commercially viable projects,” he said.
The global call for project submissions solicits owners, operators, developers and service companies for projects that can achieve rapid implementation through funding. The new investment pool will consider investing in project proposals that offer innovative solutions and business models for areas including flare minimization, venting elimination, fugitives’ reduction and complete combustion.
“Our call remit is broad because we truly believe that the broader the call, the more we will learn about how to reduce methane emissions, and the most effective means of achieving this,” Mackey said. “Successful project applications will demonstrate business models that can scale up, be replicated and encourage broader industry adoption.”
The call for applications, which opened on June 15, will continue through Sep. 14. For information visit oilandgasclimateinitiative.com/investment-call.
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