greenhouse gas management
We are committed to managing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by improving energy efficiency, reducing flaring and venting and fixing methane leaks when they occur. We are also investing in two of the world's largest carbon dioxide injection projects.
We are addressing the GHG emissions in our operations and integrating GHG emissions management into the execution of our business activities. Further, we maintain and report inventories of our emissions, undertake projects to manage operating emissions and apply innovative technologies to improve the energy efficiency of our operations. We also assess the GHG emissions of our capital projects. When developing and approving major capital projects, we estimate a project’s incremental emissions profile, assess the potential financial impact of GHG regulations and examine the emissions reduction options.
Across our operations, the primary sources of our GHG emissions are combustion of fuels and, in some locations, flaring and venting of the natural gas (methane) that is extracted along with crude oil. In 2016, emissions totaled 66 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent, calculated on a direct, operated basis.
For more information about Chevron’s position on climate change, see our Climate Change page.
what we’re doing
We take prudent, practical and cost-effective actions to address climate change risks as part of our commitment to running our business the right way, and to unlocking the potential for progress and prosperity everywhere we work. We have robust risk management processes in place that we believe effectively address climate change-related risks. We consider greenhouse gas emissions issues, climate change risks and carbon pricing risks in our strategies, business planning, and risk management tools and processes.
Chevron has reported to the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) for more than 10 years, and has consistently ranked well in comparison with industry peers.
Recognizing the importance of independent review and verification of our emissions inventory process and results, we engaged Ernst & Young (EY) to conduct a third-party verification of our operated assets' GHG emissions for 2010 through 2012. In 2013, we began an annual independent review of one-third of our GHG emissions inventory. In 2015, EY conducted an independent review of the second one-third of our GHG emissions inventory for 2014. And in 2016, EY conducted an independent review of the final one-third of our GHG emissions inventory for the 2015 data. Altogether, this verification resulted in a favorable opinion from EY, recognizing that the inventory presents, in all material respects, emissions based on Chevron's GHG Protocol.
Since 2012, we have reduced flaring by 22 percent. We have developed internal country-specific plans to minimize gas flaring, and we are a member of the World Bank–led Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership. Chevron flares natural gas when required for safety and operational purposes and in areas where pipelines or other gas transportation alternatives do not exist.
At Tengizchevroil in Kazakhstan, in which Chevron has a 50 percent interest, we have achieved an 85 percent reduction in the volume of gas flared, compared with 2000 through projects such as the four-year, $258 million gas utilization project.
Since 2008, activities carried out by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation/Chevron Nigeria Limited joint venture have reduced routine gas flaring by more than 90 percent in the Niger Delta. We have also made significant progress in reducing flare gas volumes in Angola through various projects. For example, our Nemba Enhanced Secondary Recovery Project reduced flaring at the South and North Nemba fields by almost 34 million standard cubic feet per day in 2016. In total, flare gas volume rates in Chevron’s Angola operations have been reduced by more than 50 percent since 2012.
For an in-depth look at Chevron's emissions data, refer to our Corporate Responsibility Report.
Methane accounts for approximately 9 percent of Chevron’s total GHG emissions.1 Approximately one-quarter of the 9 percent is considered fugitive emissions, or leaks from equipment and piping; of the remaining emissions, most are generated by flaring and venting.
It is in Chevron’s business interest to minimize fugitive methane and to maximize the volume of natural gas that we commercialize. We design, construct and operate our facilities with an eye toward reducing emissions from our operations, and we use design requirements to minimize fugitive emissions from our new major capital projects. We monitor and verify the integrity of our wells and production equipment with regular inspections and safety tests. To more efficiently track fugitive emissions, we use infrared cameras in select oil and gas operations around the globe to help pinpoint and remedy leaks. We continue to test and deploy new innovations that will improve detection and reduction of emissions.
Chevron is a founding partner of the Environmental Partnership, led by the American Petroleum Institute (API). The partnership is an industry initiative with the goal of accelerating improvements to reduce methane and volatile organic compound emissions. The voluntary initiative, which launched in December 2017 and is composed of more than 25 operators, will initially focus on reducing emissions associated with the removal of liquid buildup in wells, retrofitting high-bleed pneumatic controllers with low- or zero-emitting devices, and implementing the monitoring and timely repair of fugitive emissions.
In addition, Chevron serves on the Industrial Advisory Board of the Methane Emissions Test and Evaluation Center (METEC), a Colorado State University and ARPA-E test facility that models a natural gas facility. The METEC is used to test methane-sensing technologies and evaluate performance.
carbon capture and storage (CCS)
CCS is part of a portfolio of emerging GHG-mitigation technologies that can help manage emissions in the future, although the economics of this technology remain challenging. According to the IEA, CCS is an important tool for mitigating GHG emissions and meeting Paris Agreement global-warming targets in the 2030 to 2050 time frame. The technical components of CCS, from CO2 capture to transport and storage, are available now.
Chevron’s participation in the development of policy frameworks for CCS spans more than a decade. Chevron participated in the development of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on CCS, the European Union’s CCS Directive, Australian policy frameworks, Canadian CCS standards and the U.S. EPA’s CCS guidance. The IPCC recognized Chevron experts for work on the CCS report and other IPCC assessments, which contributed to the IPCC being the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
Chevron continues to manage its emissions profile, and will deploy abatement technologies when they make sense for the business and for the applicable geological settings. For example, the Gorgon carbon dioxide injection project is anticipated to be the largest greenhouse gas emissions reduction project undertaken by industry globally. We are also participating in the Quest project through a joint venture in Alberta, Canada. We have invested about $1.1 billion in these two projects, and they are expected to reduce GHGs by about 5 million tonnes per year once operational, or an amount similar to the GHG emissions from the electricity used by approximately 620,000 U.S. homes in a year.
Chevron has invested more than $75 million in CCS research and development over the last decade. Chevron also participates in joint-industry research projects to facilitate the development of CCS technologies that are economical, reliable and safe. The goals of the joint-industry projects are to reduce the cost of CO2 capture through technology improvements and assure the long-term security of geologically stored CO2. For instance, Chevron has a leadership role on all technical and policy teams of the CO2 Capture Project, a group of major energy companies working together to advance the technologies that will underpin the deployment of industrial-scale CCS in the oil and gas industry.