Few Oil & Gas Firms Set Environmental Goals

by | Oct 11, 2011

BP, ConocoPhillips, GazProm, PetroChina, SinoPec and Royal Dutch Shell have all failed to set specific sustainability goals, making the industry lag conspicuously behind others, according to a report by Green Research.

The sector is the only one, out of those Green Research has studied, in which a significant number of major companies do not disclose such goals. In the research house’s study of alcohol makers, most had specific goals. In its papers on soft drink makers and pharmaceutical companies, all had specific targets.

This week’s report focused on the top 11 oil and gas firms, of which only five have set goals, Green Reseach said.

The study considered as goals only specific commitments that deliver environmental benefits and have either quantitative targets or specific timeframes.

It found that Italian producer ENI has the most goals, with 13. Petrobas was second, with seven targets; followed by Total with six, ExxonMobil with two and Chevron with one.

GHG emissions were the most frequent type of goal, making up 34 percent of targets. Petrobras accounted for half of the 10 GHG goals in the group.

Energy efficiency was the next most popular type of goal, with 28 percent. It was followed by air emissions, such as volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, with 21 percent.

Environmental management – commitments to obtain environmental, health or safety certifications – came fourth, with 14 percent, and water use accounted for just three percent of goals.

Of the five companies with goals, all but ExxonMobil had targets for GHGs. All but Chevron had goals for energy efficiency.

Despite the overall lack of goals, all of the companies in the study report on their environmental performance, Green Research said. It said that all the companies publish reports describing projects they have undertaken and investments they have made to reduce their impact on the environment.

Shell has environmental programs directed at managing water use, developing biofuels, researching and deploying carbon capture and storage, and supporting wetlands conservation, Green Research said. The company also reported meeting a GHG target for 2010.

Last February three oil and gas associations published a second edition of joint guidance on improving transparency in environmental reporting.

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