Earth inside a lightbulb. Photo by PIRO4D/

Oil and Gas Companies Address Climate Change Amid COVID-19

To say that 2020 has been a rough one for oil and gas companies is something of an understatement. The entire world has been reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 virus, but few industries have been hit harder than United States oil and gas. Once an international powerhouse, now previously bulletproof states like New Mexico say it will be three years before they can get back to normal. 

Even as the industry fends off this latest round of economic hardship, executives and workers alike continue to seek out new ways to reduce harmful emissions and curtail the possible impacts of climate change.

The Environmental Partnership

Back in 2017, the American Petroleum Institute started a revolutionary initiative. Known as the Environmental Partnership, this movement enlisted the help of 26 oil and gas companies to create tough, but realistic emissions benchmarks. As of Wednesday, the Environmental Partnership has grown to include more than 80 members, half of which include 36 of the world’s 40 largest oil and gas producers. 

Since its inception, the Environmental Project has significantly reduced methane emissions and continues to update its targets. Chair of the Environmental Project, Vanessa Ryan explained, “The Environmental Partnership has always aimed to be a continuing improvement body. These are things companies can justify and continue to do in times like this when the industry is struggling.”

Steps Abroad

The oil and gas companies at home aren’t the only ones taking steps to preserve the future of the planet. Across the world, members of the international Oil and Gas Climate Initiative are setting rigorous goals for the future. The OGCI has pledged to reduce the carbon intensity of its operation by “20 and 21 kilograms of carbon dioxide per barrel of crude equivalent by 2025.”

If successful, these targets could eliminate more than 50 million tons of CO2 every year. According to OGCI chair Bob Dudley, that’s the “equivalent to the total emissions from about 6 million U.S. homes.”

Though impressive, Dudley refers to these goals as “a start.”

Looking to the Future

Even as they stare at a spare bottom line at the end of 2020, the oil and gas industry remains committed to a bright future beyond the pitfalls of COVID-19. These executives and personnel strive to meet the demands of energy needs in every corner of the planet, even as they reassess the way they extract that invaluable product. 

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