How does the oil and gas industry compare in carbon reductions?

By North American Shale magazine staff | June 22, 2018

A new report shows the oil and gas industry's commitment to reducing the amount of carbon it produces through investments in zero-emission and low-carbon tech.
The study, “Key Investments in Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Technologies,” was completed by Thomas Tanton, president of T2 and Associates, an energy and technology consulting firm.

Key points from the study:
- The oil and gas industry is a leading investor in zero and low-carbon technology, investing more than $108 billion between 2000-2016—more than double the investments of each of the next two industries.
- In 2016, the oil and gas industry reported the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction to date compared to the previous year—a reduction of more than 57 million tons of carbon equivalent. It’s the amount of carbon captured by 5.4 billion, 10-year-old evergreen and pine trees.
- U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are at 25-year lows because of increased natural gas use. Global emissions have risen 50 percent during the same timeframe.

The report also addressed basic questions:

What are the top carbon-reducing technology investments?
The five leading emission mitigation technologies for private and public-sector investment, as measured by expenditure share, are: shale gas, 33 percent ($194.6 billion); advanced technology vehicles (ATV), 17 percent ($100.0 billion); efficiency, 15 percent ($86.9 billion); wind, 9 percent ($53.4 billion); and ethanol, 6 percent ($34.7 billion). These top five technologies commanded 79 percent of the estimated total investments, or $469.7 billion over the 2000-2016 period in the North American market. All other technologies combined comprised 21 percent of the estimated total investments.

How much has the private sector and the U.S. federal government invested in GHG mitigation technology?
U.S.-based companies and the federal government invested approximately $597.8 billion (2016 dollars) from 2000 to 2016 on greenhouse gas mitigating technologies in the North American market. The U.S. based oil and gas industry invested $301.5 billion ($108.2 billion without shale gas), 50 percent of the $597.8 billion total, in end-use, fuel substitution, non-hydrocarbon, and enabling technologies. Other private companies invested an estimated $143.6 billion or 24 percent of the total, predominantly in end-use and non-hydrocarbon technologies. During the same period, the federal government invested in a wide array of greenhouse gas mitigation technologies, with expenditures of approximately $152.7 billion ($151.4 without shale gas), or 26 percent of the total North American investment. This does not include state and local expenditures nor investments.