Sustainable Energy

Oil companies invest $1 billion to tackle climate change

We want to be part of the climate change solution: Repsol CEO

Ten major oil and gas firms have set up a $1 billion fund to support the development of new technology to combat greenhouse gas emissions.

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, to which Saudi Aramco, BP, ENI and Statoil have all signed up, announced Friday a commitment to spend $1 billion over the next 10 years on initiatives to reduce carbon emissions. The investment will be applied to carbon capture, use and storage technology as well as to cut methane emissions. However, it does not include support for renewable energies, such as solar and wind.

Amin Nasser, chief executive Saudi Aramco, was clear to stress that the $1 billion fund is a starting point. He added, "This is the first time 10 companies are bringing in investment and bringing in their scientists and (choosing) not to worry about rivalries. (We are) saying, work together, develop technologies and the aim is climate change and reducing the emissions going forward."

Repsol CEO, Josu Jon Imaz, agreed, saying this was the start of a process.

He went on to say, "The $1 billion is an important figure. In quantitative terms we intend to have a seed, some kind of a catalyst. Working together with venture capitals, private funds, the academy and so on to try to amplify the effect of this fund."

Claudio Descalzi, chief executive of ENI, told journalists in London: "We can't stop using oil, fuel and gas overnight. We have to be realistic."

The 10 firms opted to work within their core areas and competencies, they claimed.

'The right thing to do'

Oil prices will rise in 2017: Aramco CEO

The $1 billion fund has been prepared for the past two years and can support start-ups and partnerships with universities. They expect that this initiative is only the start and will be amplified.

The announcement coincided with the official start of the Paris climate agreement, signed last year by almost 200 countries. Bob Dudley, CEO of BP and chairman of the group, said that this had been a coincidence. The deal, known as COP 21, was the first climate-related agreement backed by the two largest greenhouse emitters: China and the U.S. However, there some concerns that if Donald Trump wins the election next week, he might try to pull back from the agreement.

Dudley added at a press conference that the outcome of the presidential election wasn't going to change the group's initiatives.

The investment on reducing low carbon emissions "is not only the right thing to do," but it "will also be economic," Dudley said.

"We are personally committed to ensuring that by working with others, our companies play a key role in reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, while still providing the energy the world needs," the oil and gas giant firms said in a statement.

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