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Investment Institute

Playing with fire: Measuring emissions from the world’s oil and gas fields

  • 07 December 2021 (10 min read)


  • There are significant differences in the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of oil and gas fields
  • Apart from so-called heavy oil fields, the geological nature of the resource is not connected to the GHG footprint
  • For both crude oil and natural gas production, methane emissions are the main driver of GHG intensity. For crude oil, flaring of associated gas is another major source of GHGs
  • The extent of flaring and escaped methane differs greatly based on the interplay between geography and regulation. Countries with strong regulatory oversight, such as Norway, rank well, while areas with less rigorous rules, including Iraq, Algeria, and Texas, perform poorly
  • We believe an assessment of GHG intensity and practices around venting and flaring at oil and gas producers should be a central part of any climate engagement by investors
  • Investors can and should favour producers with the lowest GHG intensities
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