The IEA says the oil and gas industry needs to abandon carbon capture as a solution to climate change

The Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) and carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility, operated by Chevron, on Barrow Island, Australia, on Monday, July 24, 2023.

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The oil and gas industry needs to shed the “illusion” that carbon capture technology is a solution to climate change and invest more in clean energy, the head of the International Energy Agency said on Thursday.

“Industry needs to commit to truly helping the world meet its energy needs and climate goals – which means abandoning the illusion that sequestering unreasonably large amounts of carbon is the solution,” Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, said in a statement. statement Ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai next week.

This technology captures carbon dioxide resulting from industrial processes before emissions enter the atmosphere and stores it underground.

Oil and gas companies are facing a moment of truth about their role in the clean energy transition, Birol wrote in an International Energy Agency report reviewing the industry’s role in transitioning to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.

According to Birol, only 1% of global investment in clean energy comes from oil and gas companies. The IEA chief wrote that the industry needs to confront the “inconvenient truth” that a successful clean energy transition will require scaling back, not expanding, oil and gas operations.

“So, while all oil and gas producers need to reduce emissions from their operations, including methane leakage and flaring, our call to action is much broader,” Birol wrote.

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The industry will need to invest 50% of capital expenditures in clean energy projects by 2030 to meet the 1.5°C climate change target, according to the IEA report. About 2.5% of industry capital spending went toward clean energy in 2022.

According to the report, one of the major pitfalls in the energy transition is overreliance on carbon capture. Carbon capture is necessary to achieve net-zero emissions in some sectors, but should not be used as a means of maintaining the status quo, according to the International Energy Agency.

The International Energy Agency says 32 billion tons of carbon would need to be captured for use or storage by 2050 to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius under current projections for oil and gas consumption.

The technology needed will require 26,000 terawatt hours of electricity to operate in 2050, more than the total global demand in 2022, according to the International Energy Agency.

It would also require $3.5 trillion in annual investments from today through mid-century, equivalent to the annual revenues of the entire oil and gas industry in recent years, according to the report.

Major American oil companies such as Exxon Mobil And Chevron Companies are investing billions in carbon capture and hydrogen technology, while major European companies Shell and BP have focused more on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

Exxon and Chevron are also working to double their efforts in the field of fossil fuels through huge deals. Exxon is buying Pioneer Resources for approximately $60 billion, while Chevron is buying Hess for $53 billion.

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