Oil currently accounts for 30% of the global energy mix, but under the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Sustainable Development Scenario, that figure falls to about 20% by 2040. That’s why we’re aiming to develop competitively priced oil projects that meet the highest safety and environmental standards. We’re also working to make our production sites more energy-efficient and to develop sustainable biofuels.
Reducing our emissions through energy efficiency
Energy efficiency is the key to continued reductions in our direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which are already 50% lower in our operated activities than they were in 2005. Less flaring and steps to optimize our facilities are what helped bring them down.
We have two priority focuses to keep improving:
- Reducing routine flaring in our production activities. In 2000, we pledged that this practice would be eliminated in new developments. In 2014, we were the first company to join the World Bank in creating and launching the Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 project. This initiative brings together a number of oil and gas companies, producing countries and international institutions that share a common ambition: to end flaring of associated gas by 2030, including an interim target of 80% between 2010 and 2020. Total achieved that goal in 2017.
- Optimizing the energy efficiency of our facilities, to better manage their energy consumption and strengthen their performance. We have already improved energy efficiency by an average of 1% a year over the period 2010-2020. To do that, we have upgraded architectures and equipment and introduced innovative technology. For example, we installed systems to recover the heat from gas turbines, eliminating the need for heaters or boilers.
In February 2019, we set a goal to cut Scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emissions at our operated oil and gas facilities from 46 million tons (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2015 to less than 40 million tons in 2025. Scope 1 and 2 refer to the direct greenhouse gas emissions of operated sites and their indirect emissions from energy use, respectively.
Additionally, we do not pursue oil projects in the Arctic sea ice, and we no longer develop oil sands projects in Canada.
We’re also helping customers improve their energy efficiency by offering products and services designed to reduce their carbon footprint.
In order to meet the European Union’s definition, biofuels must emit less than half the CO2e of fossil fuel equivalents across their life cycle. Biofuels are made from renewable feedstock or waste products. For more than 20 years, Total has led the way in researching, producing and distributing more sustainable and effective biofuels.
As our project to repurpose the La Mède refinery shows, we are investing in this energy. The first world-class biorefinery in France and one of the biggest in Europe, La Mède has the capacity to produce 500,000 tons of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) biodiesel a year to meet the growing demand for biofuels.
We are also working to develop advanced, second-generation biofuels to supplement the earlier varieties that still account for the majority of those produced worldwide. Those biofuels, derived from plants not used for food or feed, pose availability, collection and technology hurdles to overcome. In the last decade, Total has spent more than €500 million on advanced biofuel R&D. Both in our own laboratories and through partnerships in R&D, we are examining all possible biomass conversion pathways.