TotalEnergies vows to slash methane as investors demand Big Oil do more

The French supermajor states plans to reduce methane and Scope 3 emissions due to mounting investor pressure.
Photo: Stephane Mahe/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix
Photo: Stephane Mahe/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix
By Francois de Beaupuy, Bloomberg News

TotalEnergies SE announced plans for a steep cut in methane emissions as energy majors come under increasing pressure to eliminate leaks of one of the most harmful greenhouse gases.

The French energy giant aims to reduce its release of methane – the primary component of natural gas – by 80 percent this decade, it said Thursday in a report. Curbing intentional emissions and accidental leaks from the oil and gas industry is seen by scientists as essential in the fight against global warming.

Climate change looms large for Europe’s big oil companies, with governments and shareholders increasingly demanding more stringent targets to reduce pollution as the region seeks to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050.

TotalEnergies also said it will cut so-called Scope 3 emissions – specifically relating to those of its oil customers – by more than 30 percent by 2030 versus 2015. The company has said before that it plans to reduce the sale of its oil products by at least that proportion by then, while it expands gas and power output. 

Thursday’s climate report, which will be put to a vote at the annual general meeting on May 25, was immediately rejected by Dutch activist group Follow This, which said Total’s plan “still falls short” of Paris Agreement goals.

The energy transition has increasingly dominated the AGMs of the oil majors. Last year, Chevron Corp. investors voted for a proposal to compel the firm to curb pollution by its customers, while Exxon Mobil Corp.’s shareholders ousted two directors seen as ill-attuned to the threat of global warming. In Europe, climate resolutions filed by Follow This at BP plc, Shell Plc and Equinor ASA received their highest support ever.

Total defended its climate stance on Thursday, pointing to an analysis from the Transition Pathway Initiative investor group that showed the company was one of just three oil and gas majors with strategies ambitious enough to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

TotalEnergies stops buying oil from Russia 

Danish government unable to halt routine flaring at North Sea oil field 

Routine flaring stop at Danish field requires closure

TotalEnergies' half fix for routine flaring releases more oil at sea 

Danish government "working intensely" to ban routine flaring




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