The era in which oil and gas (O&G) companies must demonstrate the carbon-neutral operational capacity of new portfolio assets looms ever-closer, and GCC operators must act now to establish sustainable decarbonization strategies, according to a new report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
The report, titled ‘A Decarbonization Roadmap for Upstream Oil and Gas,’ explains how firms can reduce their carbon footprint in response to pressure from stakeholders and regulators, build a stronger brand, and drive evolution across the industry.
Data from BCG’s proprietary decarbonization tool show that total upstream value chain emissions from GCC based O&G companies are equivalent to almost a third of the total emission contributions from the GCC. Hydrocarbon combustion for own use-power generation and venting during gas processing stand out as being major sources of the emissions.
Emissions from the GCC’s upstream value chain in the past have been typically lower than the global averages, however, with many other players taking strong decarbonization measures, this advantage may soon erode. Further estimates from BCG’s tool point out that emissions from the upstream value chain in the GCC will increase by 20-30% in the next 10 years if no emission reduction initiatives are implemented.
“Utilizing BCG’s decarbonization tool, we provide a pathway to maintaining upstream emission at current levels for an estimated $40-$60 billion to be spent on carbon abatement technologies in the next decade. Moreover, our research identifies four decarbonizations levers across the upstream value chain that can be leveraged to achieve sustainability and meet carbon footprint reduction objectives,” said Cristiano Rizzi, Managing Director and Partner, BCG. “In the design and sourcing phase of the value chain, GCC oil and gas firms can adopt robust principles and tools to asset operations. Different phases of the chain do warrant several considerations in their own right. However, when taking into account the enormous pressure companies will be under by the mid-2020s, action should be taken now due to the considerable exploration and development timeframes.”
Exploration: The first decarbonization lever within the upstream value chain that can accelerate change and sustainability, which entails concentrating on low-carbon intensive assets and leveraging available tax credits and offsets to boost emissions reduction and the attractiveness of potential investments
Prioritization and Planning: The second lever, which involves lean asset design, utilizing remote-control centers, and selecting sourcing vendors based on their carbon profile. In the sourcing process, upstream players can also incentivize suppliers to reduce their emissions output and employ carbon as a critical metric in vendor evaluation and selection
Development and Execution: The third lever involves the reductions in cycle time and energy consumption, optimizing ways to mobilize and demobilize operations crews, and enhancing ways to utilize and transport materials including sand, fluids, and chemicals
Operations: The fourth and final decarbonization lever, which is fundamental for oil and gas firms moving forward. In addition to the use of zero-carbon electricity, carbon capture, storage technology, and low-carbon-enhanced oil recovery techniques for heavy crudes, there will also be decarbonization opportunities through improvements in energy efficiency and a reduction of flaring and methane leakages
“The levers put forth in the report represents an effective and efficient decarbonization model for oil and gas companies,” said Andreas Kyrilis, Managing Director and Partner, BCG. “This approach has been developed with a strong emphasis on value-accretive decarbonization and an incremental strategy tailored to each company’s constraints and opportunities. As measures to address climate change reshape the industry as we know it, firms must take proactive steps to ensure they compete and succeed in the decades ahead.”