IOGP Environmental Performance Report Shows Uptick in Emissions

Data from member companies reveals an increased intensity in greenhouse-gas emissions for 2021. And, while flaring increased, too, long-term trends on that practice are clearly moving downward.

Sunset and Gas Flaring
Source: HHakim/Getty Images

The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) recently released its Environmental Performance Indicators report with data from 2021. The data show a slight increase in emissions intensity of all greenhouse gases as reported by IOGP member companies.

From 2020 to 2021, total greenhouse-gas emissions intensity increased 6%. Broken down, that increase was 6% for carbon dioxide, 2% for methane, 6% for nonmethane volatile organic compounds, 5% for sulfur dioxide, and 14% for nitrogen oxides.

The IOGP report gives a few reasons why emissions intensity could have crept up. It lists asset divestments, shut-ins, end of asset life, or reduced activity as possible reasons along with changes in the companies that reported from 2020 to 2021.

Data for the report was submitted by 40 of IOGP’s 64 member operating companies, which cover operations in 72 countries worldwide. Of those 40 companies that submitted 2021 data, 35 of them submitted data for 2020.

The IOGP reports that, collectively, the 40 companies reporting 2021 data were responsible for operated oil and gas wellhead production of approximately 13.5 billion BOE, which is about 24% of 2021 global production sales. Regional coverage is uneven, however, ranging from 85% of known production in Europe to 10% in Russia and Central Asia.

The report also presents data on flaring, and, while more natural gas was reported flared in 2021 than in 2020, the long-term trend is clearly going down. Data from 2021 shows that 9.4 tonnes of gas were flared for every 1,000 tonnes of hydrocarbon produced. In 2020, that number was 7.9 tonnes per 1,000 tonnes of hydrocarbon produced, yet it was 9.7 tonnes per thousand tonnes in 2019. The report says the increase in 2021 was largely because of increased flaring in Africa.

The report suggests several reasons why flaring increased in Africa, including a lack of infrastructure to allow use of the gas and the recovery from a decease in production brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Besides emissions intensity and flaring, the report also presents data on energy consumption, produced-water discharges, nonaqueous drilling fluids retained on cuttings discharged to sea, oil and chemical spills, and fresh water withdrawn for use.

Find the report here.