NGOs Release the First Global Oil & Gas Exit List at COP26
GLASGOW – At the UN Climate Summit today, Urgewald, Friends of the Earth US and 20 NGO partners launched the “Global Oil & Gas Exit List” (GOGEL). This list is an extensive public database covering 887 oil and gas companies that account for almost 95% of global oil and gas production.
GOGEL was designed to make companies’ fossil expansion activities visible, both to the finance world and the public. It identifies the largest oil and gas expansionists as well as the companies responsible for the dirtiest and most controversial forms of oil and gas production.
The GOGEL database reveals that finance industry’s net zero pledges ring hollow as they continue backing reckless oil and gas expansion around the globe. Data shows that if all proposed oil and gas pipelines were placed end to end, their combined length would reach halfway to the moon.
“Over the past two years, we have seen a surge of coal exclusion policies by financial institutions, but almost none that address oil and gas,” said Katrin Ganswindt, Senior Finance Campaigner at Urgewald. “With the help of GOGEL, we want to motivate both public and private financial institutions to stop enabling the industry’s expansion and begin steering towards an oil and gas exit.”
According to UNEP’s 2020 Emissions Gap Report, greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas are rapidly growing. Gas is now the largest contributor to fossil CO2 emissions in some regions. Even if the use of coal was phased out overnight, emissions from developed oil and gas reserves would soon exhaust our carbon budget for 1.5°C. Yet over 95% of the upstream oil and gas companies listed on GOGEL are still exploring or preparing to develop new oil and gas reserves.
“Our numbers show that the industry as a whole is on a reckless expansion course,” said Nils Bartsch, Head of GOGEL Research at Urgewald. “We should not be fooled by oil and gas companies’ pie in the sky promises for 2050. Adhering to our carbon budget requires an immediate end to oil and gas exploration and to the development of further oil and gas fields. The decisive decade for action is now.”
GOGEL identifies 506 upstream oil and gas producers that are planning to add 190 billion barrels of oil equivalent (bboe) to their production portfolios within the next one to seven years. 14 companies are responsible for over half of this enormous expansion (see GOGEL annex). The top five are: Qatar Energy (20 bboe), Gazprom (17 bboe), Saudi Aramco (15 bboe), ExxonMobil (7 bboe) and Brazil’s Petrobras (7 bboe).
“If we are to prevent climate change beyond the targets set by global agreements, banks can’t finance new fossil fuel supply,” said Doug Norlen, Economic Policy Program Director at Friends of the Earth U.S. “Recent reports from the International Energy Agency have shown that any additional financing for oil and gas expansion will only cause further climate chaos. GOGEL points a finger at the worst oil and gas culprits so public and private financial institutions can stop financing these offenders.”
Upstream fossil fuel expansion begins with exploration. Over the past 3 years, oil and gas companies spent USD 168 billion on exploration for new oil and gas resources. Over half of this amount was, however, spent by only 16 companies (see GOGEL annex for a detailed list).
“It is unconscionable for the oil and gas industry to be increasing production at all – let alone in some of the most dirty and damaging types of oil and gas, long opposed by local communities. GOGEL reveals that production of unconventional fossil fuels is growing year on year,” said Alison Kirsch from Rainforest Action Network.
Many oil and gas companies are notoriously untransparent, when it comes to reporting on their expansion plans. GOGEL therefore uses the Rystad Energy database to determine which new oil and gas assets companies are preparing to bring into production in the near future.
“This is the database we have all been waiting for,” said Tom Kruse from Rockefeller Brothers Fund. ”It is public, it is meticulously researched and it is an essential tool to help us end the age of fossil fuels.”
According to this analysis, 506 upstream oil and gas producers are planning to add 190 billion barrels of oil equivalent (bboe) to their production portfolios within the next one to seven years, 14 companies are responsible for over half of this enormous expansion.
“Despite a flood of net zero alliances and climate ambition statements by CEOs, the vast majority of financial institutions still refuse to do the obvious: End their support for oil and gas expansion and exclude clients, who do not have plans to wind down their production in line with the 1.5 °C target,” said Lucie Pinson from the NGO Reclaim Finance.
Fossil fuel infrastructure such as pipelines, LNG terminals or gas-fired power plants are expensive to build and their intended operational lifetime spans decades. Gazprom’s 1,230 km long Nord Stream 2 pipeline, for example, cost € 9.5 billion, and has an expected lifetime of 50 years. Novatek’s and Total’s Arctic LNG 2 project will cost over USD 21 billion and is being financed on the basis of 20-year long gas purchase agreements.
“Massive investments in LNG and new gas plants are blocking the transition to renewable energy all over Asia,” said Gerry Arances from the Philippine Centre for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED).
Oil and gas production has become more and more extreme, as producers are drilling in fragile environments like the Arctic, using controversial extraction methods such as fracking or developing oil and gas assets that have an especially heavy environmental footprint such as tar sands or coalbed methane. According to GOGEL, these ‘unconventional’ sources account for 34% of current oil and gas production and 50% of the industry’s planned expansion projects.
“We welcome the publication of Urgewald’s Global Oil and Gas Exit List,” said Skender Sahiti Manzoni from Banque Postale. “It will be a key resource for implementing our decision.”
The full analysis can be found at www.gogel.org.
Nils Bartsch, Head of GOGEL Research, [email protected], +49-176-66694994
Katrin Ganswindt, Senior Finance Campaigner, [email protected], +49-176-32411130
Stefanie Jellestad, Communications Director, [email protected], +49-152-37199229
Kerry Skiff, Press Officer, [email protected], +1 202-222-0723