Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a non-toxic, odorless gas produced as a byproduct of carbon combustion and living organisms’ respiration. It is classified as a greenhouse gas because it traps heat in the atmosphere. The term “emissions” refers to releasing greenhouse gases and/or their precursors into the atmosphere over a particular geographical area and for a certain amount of time.
Due to emerging technology we got to know that emissions of carbon dioxide, also known as CO2 emissions, are those that are produced when fossil fuels are burned, as well as when cement is manufactured.
These emissions include the carbon dioxide produced during the consumption of solid, liquid, and gas fuels, as well as the carbon dioxide produced when gas is flared. But mostly they consist of carbon emissions.
The entire amount of greenhouse gases (such as carbon emissions and methane) produced as a result of our activities is referred to as our “carbon footprint.” Similarly, the amount of carbon used or emitted due to a human being throughout his lifetime is called the human carbon footprint.
The United States has one of the world’s most considerable per capita carbon footprint rates, with the average individual leaving behind 16 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. On a global scale, the typical carbon footprint is about four tons.
Carbon Foot Print of Oil and Gas Industries
When burned, various fuels produce varying levels of carbon emissions in proportion to the quantity of usable energy they release. Taking help from emerging technology and comparing the amount of CO2 emitted by different fuels per unit of energy output or heat content is an effective way to evaluate emissions.
When a fuel is burned, the amount of carbon dioxide created is proportional to the amount of carbon that the power contains. When a fuel is burned, the quantity of heat that is created and the amount of energy that is produced is mainly governed by the amount of carbon (C) and hydrogen (H) contained inside the fuel.
During the combustion process, combining carbon and hydrogen with oxygen (O) results in heat production. The primary component of natural gas is methane (CH4), which, compared to other fuels, possesses a more effective energy content; hence, natural gas has a significantly lower CO2-to-energy concentration.
In certain fuels, the presence of water and different components, such as sulfur and non-combustible materials, lowers the heating values of the fuels and raises the CO2-to-heat content of the fuels.
Role in Climate Change
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 45% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to the oil and gas industry worldwide. Because of their significant contribution, national oil companies (NOCs) and international oil and gas companies are coming under growing pressure to reduce their carbon footprint.
Approaches to Reduce Carbon Emissions
First and foremost, companies are responsible for reducing the emissions that result from their production, processing, and logistical processes. The emerging technology classifies them as “scope 1” and “scope 2” emissions.
A growing number of corporations have stated ambitious reduction goals for scopes 1 and 2, and this trend is expected to continue. These include various activities led by individual businesses and collaborations such as the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative that have been formed.
Utilizing the fundamentals of the sharing economy is another viable option for taking action. In most cases, they can be classified as one of the following types of categories:
- Eliminate all sources of methane loss, including flaring and venting.
- The development and deployment of carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) technology should be accelerated.
- Change the fuel you use and make your operations more energy efficient.
- To produce low-carbon goods, you should use feedstocks with lower carbon content.
- Cooperate along the supply chain.
- Develop the capabilities to measure emissions on a finer scale.
The possibility is enormous, and it is feasible to accomplish a great deal in a lucrative manner. According to an estimate conducted by Accenture, if the oil and gas industry were to make a concentrated effort to invest in solutions that were both scalable and economical, Carbon emissions could be cut from 5 gigatons per year to less than one gigatons per year by the year 2050. That is the same as the total emissions produced by the entire European Union (or 80 percent of the United States or India, and Russia combined).
Initiatives to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint can be of tremendous assistance in this regard. On the other hand, emissions from fuels that users burn, and customers present a difficulty that is even more significant and difficult to solve.
These so-called scope three emissions are accountable for between 75 and 80 percent of the 35 gigatons of carbon dioxide produced annually due to the lifecycle of oil and gas products.
The national plans to fight climate change also include these plans. These goals are hard to reach, and NOCs need to take steps to get there.
At the same time, NOCs have to deal with risks related to business and how people see them. This will be hard because companies will have to understand how complicated decarbonization is in their industry and act as national catalysts to help change the economies they serve.
The main reason behind acting on these approaches is to bring a pleasant change in the environment. Industries should not only work on reducing their carbon footprint, rather they should also start working on the supply of the fuel that reduces the individual human carbon footprint.
How the oil and gas industry contributes to a lower carbon future?
Switching from coal to gas to make electricity reduces CO2 emissions quickly and quickly. By making a change, you can cut emissions from heating by 30%. Using carbon capture and storage, power plants can cut their emissions by 50% or nearly 100%.
How can the oil and gas industry be more sustainable?
By making even small changes to improve the efficiency of ongoing operations, oil and gas companies can produce the same amount with less money and energy. This reduces their overall carbon footprint.