(Montel) Nearly all the world’s upstream oil and gas developers are on track to expand production despite the incompatibility of these plans with global climate goals, according to a new report by environmental campaigners.
The second edition of the Global Oil and Gas Exit List (GOGEL), published on Wednesday, found 96% of oil and gas developers were exploring or developing new oil and gas fields.
This comes despite an International Energy Agency roadmap to net-zero emissions by mid-century that found no new oil and gas fields may be approved from 2021 to limit global warming to a 1.5C rise this century.
“The magnitude of the industry’s expansion plans is truly frightening,” said Nils Bartsch, head of oil and gas research at German environmental group Urgewald, which publishes the list in conjunction with 50 partner organisations around the world.
“To keep 1.5C alive, a speedy, managed decline in both oil and gas production is vital. Instead, oil and gas companies are building a bridge to climate chaos.”
Since 2021, the industry’s annual capital expenditure on oil and gas exploration has risen by more than 30%, the group found.
In this time the companies in the group’s database had spent a total of USD 170.4bn exploring new oil and gas reserves “that we cannot afford to burn”, it said.
Short-term expansion plans showed companies on the list were preparing to bring 230bn barrels of oil equivalent of untapped oil and gas resources into production.
“Latest findings show that even if all coal extraction would magically end overnight, we would still need to leave almost 20% of oil and gas resources in approved and producing fields in the ground to remain within the carbon budget for 1.5C,” Urgewald said in a statement.
The list covers 1,623 companies active in the upstream, midstream or gas-fired power sector. It comes ahead of this year’s UN climate talks in the United Arab Emirates set to commence on 30 November.