Investors have spoken again on the performance of the oil and gas industry, and they are demanding action on a fundamental and critical issue.
Three global investor groups - the North American Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), the European Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), and the Australia/New Zealand Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) - have joined to call on the oil and gas industry to minimize methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing operations. The groups collectively controlling more than $20 trillion (with a “t”) in assets.
Methane is twenty five times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, and methane emissions from oil and gas production are either the largest source of methane emissions in the U.S, or the second largest. And with the shale oil/gas boom, hundreds of thousands of additional wells will be drilled in North America alone in the coming decades, and uncounted additional wells around the globe. Leakage of methane from all of those wells – and from transport and distribution of natural gas - presents an unacceptable risk to the global climate, and to investors, the groups said.
The three investor groups are calling for companies to disclose their methane emissions and control plans, and to implement best practice control technologies that are proven to effectively and economically eliminate most methane emissions. They are also calling on governments to adopt effective regulations on methane emissions across the value chain.
The investor groups are working with industry and experts, in collaboration with the Carbon Disclosure Project, to develop investor framework for disclosure to enable investors to evaluate companies’ progress in reducing methane emissions. A final version due for publication in October 2012.
The call of the market echoes international demands for the oil and gas industry and governments to step up to the challenge of responsible development that will truly offer a bridge away from climate peril and toward a sustainable, renewable energy economy.