The world needs oil and gas companies on the path to zero emissions
For decades, society has been demanding sustainable and environmentally friendly growth which allows families, companies and countries to enhance their wealth and comfort without damaging the environment. This social awareness is even stronger after Covid.
By Carlos Losada (CEO of MET España)
Source: El Economista
Today more than ever, the industrialised world wants to grow while taking care of the planet. The resulting reaction to this social awareness has been a wave of public opinion against the use of fossil fuels associated with greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a growth in ESG funds that only invest in companies with effective environmental and CSR plans.
Globally, 51,000 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere. Fossil fuels used for transport, heating and electricity generation emit 55% of the total. Industries such as cement, steel, fertilisers, meat and others account for the remainder. Current technology could reduce the use of fossil fuels in some sectors. Transport could benefit from electric vehicles; electricity generation could reduce its dependence on gas and increase the use of renewable sources; heating could move away from gas and oil with electric boilers in industry, buildings and private homes.
This process takes time. People cannot be forced to buy electric cars, or switch to gas boilers in their homes, or pay more for electricity from renewable sources. Companies cannot be forced to renew their energy generation systems to stop using fossil fuels. You can motivate and help, but it takes time.
Renewable generation - wind farms, photovoltaic systems, etc. - can be installed; however, at the current rate, it would take more than 30 years considering there is no capacity to manufacture and install faster. This capacity is bound to increase, as will the energy needs of a world where developing countries also want to consume energy and increase their standards of living.
We cannot have a green world without the participation of oil and gas companies. We are aware that business is going to change. We will supply the fossil fuels needed to support the decarbonisation process together with new forms of energy as we reduce the burden of global emissions. This balance is imperative for the energy transition and can be achieved only with the collaboration of our industry.
Because we are no longer oil and gas companies, we are energy companies. Change is in our DNA. I am also confident that the cement, steel, fertiliser and other emissions-generating industries are going to recognise their role in the shift to zero emissions and will work to support it as the fossil fuel extractive and trading industries have started to do.