Protecting natural resources and the existing natural environment and, where possible, to repair damage and reverse
Producing the energy that drives the world’s economy has an impact on the environment, but energy companies and governments work to make that impact as small as possible. Industry practices of safe operations and environmental protection have evolved significantly in the past few decades.
Technology improvements enable us to conduct many aspects of our operations far more efficiently now than just a decade ago. This efficiency translates to smaller “footprints” (the amount of surface area disturbed), less waste generated, cleaner and safer operations and greater compatibility with the environment.
Energy companies have developed and implemented sophisticated management systems that spell out the procedures required by employees and contractors to operate safely and to protect the environment. Over the past few years, these management systems have been extended to include social responsibility and ethical considerations.
The energy industry has shown repeatedly that energy production and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive. For example, the industry can produce the oil and gas needed to give consumers the freedom and mobility they demand and the warmth and light needed to survive while preserving the natural beauty of the environment.
Global Climate Change
Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. Many chemical compounds found in the Earth’s atmosphere act as greenhouse gases. These gases allow sunlight to enter the atmosphere. When sunlight strikes the Earth’s surface, some of it is reflected back toward space as infrared radiation (heat). Greenhouse gases absorb this heat and trap it. Some greenhouse gases—such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide—are emitted to the atmosphere through natural processes and human activities. Others, such as gases for aerosols, are created and emitted only through human activities. Greenhouse gases naturally blanket the Earth, keeping it warmer than if these gases were not in the atmosphere. This is called the “greenhouse effect,” so named because of a similar effect produced by the glass panes of a greenhouse.
Emissions from fossil fuel production and is a contributing factor to the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere. Energy companies are working to reduce these emissions. As a start, they are managing their own use of energy. They use technology to convert waste heat into energy, reducing energy consumption and emissions. Many traditionally oil and gas companies are also exploring (and in some cases marketing) alternative energy sources such as solar power, biofuels, geothermal energy and wind power. They are setting goals for themselves and using new emissions estimation and tracking tools to assess if their goals are being met, and they are reporting their progress to the public. Finally, they are partnering with major universities and research institutions by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in climate change research to improve our understanding of global warming and to advance the technologies that will help combat it.
Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, is the goal to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal or simply eliminating carbon emissions altogether. Many countries and companies are working on plans to achieve net zero emissions.