Oil and natural gas supply

Latest findings

Emissions reductions in the Net Zero Scenario, 2030


Tracking Oil and Natural Gas Supply

Not on track

The production, transport and processing of oil and gas resulted in 5.1 billion tonnes (Gt) CO2 equivalent in 2022 – just under 15% of global energy sector GHG emissions1. About half of these emissions came from flaring and methane released during oil and gas operations. Emissions from the oil and gas sector are increasingly under the spotlight as governments and companies set emissions reduction targets and investors and board members push for greater disclosure and more ambitious goals.  

Emissions performance varies considerably across the industry. Government policy, alongside efforts by leading companies to share and extend best practices, could therefore be very effective in reducing emissions from methane leaks and flaring. Further endeavours are needed to align the oil and gas industry with the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (NZE) Scenario 

1. Methane is converted to CO2‐equivalent based on the 100‐year global warming potential reported by the IPCC 6th Assessment Report (IPCC, 2021), with one tonne of methane equivalent to 30 tonnes of CO2

GHG emissions remain high, making it tougher to reach the decline seen in the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario

Total emissions of oil and gas operations in the Net Zero Scenario, 2022-2030


Emissions intensities of oil and gas operations in the Net Zero Scenario, 2022-2030


The NZE Scenario maps out a way to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C alongside achieving universal access to modern energy by 2030. This scenario sees a rapid decline in oil and gas demand, which is sufficiently steep that it can be satisfied in aggregate without developing new oil and gas fields. There is also an immediate, concerted effort by all the oil and gas industry to limit emissions from its activities. In the NZE Scenario, the global average emissions intensity of oil and gas supply falls by more than 50% between 2022 and 2030. Combined with the reductions in oil and gas consumption, this results in a 60% reduction in emissions from oil and gas operations to 2030. 

Five key levers are used to achieve this reduction in emissions intensities: tackling methane emissions, eliminating all non-emergency flaring, electrifying upstream facilities with low-emissions electricity, equipping oil and gas processes with carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS), and expanding the use of low-emission electrolysis hydrogen in refineries. No offsets are used to achieve the reductions in emissions in the NZE Scenario.   

Tackling methane emissions is the single most important measure that contributes to the overall fall in emissions from oil and gas operations, followed by eliminating flaring, and electrification. Scaling up CCUS and expanding the use of low-emissions hydrogen play complementary roles but have significant potential for positive spillovers into other aspects of energy transitions, by accelerating deployment and technology learning for these technologies. 

Momentum to tackle emissions is building but on-the-ground implementation is falling well short of climate ambitions

New policies and measures related to methane abatement, 2010-2022


Gas wasted in flaring, venting and methane leaks from oil and gas operations led to around 2.7 Gt CO2-eq emissions in 2022. Rapid action to deploy all available abatement technologies over the next decade would cut around 0.1°C from the global temperature rise by mid-century. This is the same effect on the global temperature rise by mid-century as immediately eliminating the GHG emissions from all of the world’s cars, trucks, buses and two- and three-wheelers.  

Flaring and methane emissions from oil and gas operations have remained stubbornly high despite a number of commitments to address them, underscoring the need for ambitious mitigation efforts. Through the Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 Initiative, launched in 2015, governments and companies pledge to end routine flaring no later than 2030 (about a 90% decrease from current levels). The Global Methane Pledge, launched at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), includes 150 countries that commit to a collective goal of reducing global methane emissions from human activity by at least 30% compared with 2020 levels by 2030. 

Global flaring and methane emissions from oil and gas operations, 1990-2022



Emissions from Oil and Gas Operations in Net Zero Transitions

Today, oil and gas operations account for around 15% of total energy-related emissions globally, the equivalent of 5.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, oil and gas producers have a clear opportunity to address the problem of emissions from their activities through a series of ready-to-implement and cost-effective measures.