Natural gas — the lowest-carbon fossil fuel — is the best option currently available for combating global warming while ensuring the world has access to the energy it needs. Because although curbing carbon emissions is a top global goal, the challenge is even more urgent in developing countries, notably in Asia, that still depend heavily on coal. According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Sustainable Development Scenario, gas consumption will soar between now and 2040, when it is expected to meet one-quarter of global energy demand. Increasing gas’s share of the global energy mix is a key challenge. At Total, we’ve made it a cornerstone of our strategy.
Our gas strategy factors in the climate challenge
Accessible, plentiful and a good partner for renewables, natural gas has many attractive qualities. To make the most of its strengths, we are pursuing a proactive gas strategy.
Total operates across the LNG value chain, from gas production and liquefaction — including giant projects such as Yamal LNG today and Arctic LNG 2 looking ahead in Russia and Ichthys LNG in Australia — to transportation, regasification and the supply of natural gas to homes and businesses in Europe. Our acquisition of Engie’s upstream LNG business has made us a global leader in the sector.
Because gas emits only half as much carbon as coal in power generation, another piece of our strategy is to prioritize gas to produce electricity. Replacing coal with natural gas in power plants would cut global carbon emissions by 10%. At Total, we permanently halted all coal production in August 2015, and recently acquired several combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants in France.
Last of all, we continue to work on and invest in developing new uses for gas, whether in road transportation with natural gas vehicle (NGV) fuel distributed by PitPoint B.V in Europe and Clean Energy in the United States, or shipping with LNG bunker fuel under our agreements with CMA CGM Group.
Countering methane emissions
To retain gas’s edge over coal, methane emissions must be strictly minimized. Methane has 25 times carbon’s global warming potential, despite a life that is only one-quarter as long.
We are therefore taking steps to cut our methane emissions from gas production and transportation and increase our knowledge of methane emissions:
- By making changes to our facilities. Our efforts to limit routine flaring on our platforms and grow LNG markets have slashed greenhouse gas emissions, including methane emissions, across Total’s operated scope. In 2018, methane emissions were 0.3% lower than the commercial gas produced. We plan to further reduce the intensity of methane emissions and keep it below 0.20% between now and 2025.
- By participating in international initiatives to combat methane emissions. Our work in the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), for example, aims to bring technologies that can mitigate methane emissions to market faster. Likewise, we are a partner of the Climate & Clean Air Coalition. Supported by the United Nations, this initiative aims to improve the methods and means for measuring and reducing methane emissions across the energy industry.