Only one of 25 of largest listed oil & gas companies “potentially” aligned with 1.5C

LONDON – 7 September – The world’s biggest oil giant, Saudi Aramco, has the weakest climate pledges among major listed oil and gas companies, finds a report from the financial think tank Carbon Tracker published today.

It assesses and ranks emissions reduction commitments made by 25 of the world’s largest listed oil and gas companies and finds that only Eni has targets that are “potentially” aligned with the Paris goal. However, it says to be truly aligned with Paris the company must also have credible plans for real reductions in emissions at a pace consistent with 1.5°C.

Major European companies top the rankings, with consistently stronger targets than North American rivals, while the weakest commitments have been made by ExxonMobil and five majority state-owned oil companies: Aramco, Petrobras of Brazil, and China’s Sinopec, PetroChina and CNOOC.

Mike Coffin, Head of Oil, Gas and Mining and report co-author, said: “Companies must be aware of how the switch from fossil fuels to clean technologies might impact their bottom lines. Our analysis shows that the world’s largest oil and gas companies are far from aligned with the 1.5-degree Paris goal and they continue to put investors at risk by failing to plan for production cuts as the energy transition gather pace.

“Asset owners, asset managers, banks, insurers and other financial services firms should monitor whether the companies they fund or underwrite are adequately prepared for the inevitable change in the global energy system. Investors have least influence on majority-state-owned companies and they should be aware that these are doing least to align with Paris.”

Carbon Tracker’s fourth annual report on climate targets expands its analysis from 15 to 25 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies by volume of production in 2022 and includes majority state-owned companies for the first time. It excludes fully state-owned national oil companies and companies based in Russia, over which investors have little influence.

The report helps investors navigate the complexity of companies’ different climate targets by assessing them against three key criteria, the “Hallmarks of Paris Aligned Emissions Targets.” They must:

  • cover the full life-cycle emissions of their products, including use (Scopes 1, 2 and 3);
  • target net zero by 2050 on a full life-cycle basis, setting interim targets for absolute reductions along the way.
  • cover worldwide emissions from all projects in which they have a stake, including sales of products they refine from crude oil bought from other companies.

Absolute Impact 2023 shows that oil and gas companies’ progress on strengthening emissions commitments has stalled with most staying in the same band as last year:

  • Eni leads the pack for the fourth year in a row, the only company with targets that fully meet all three hallmarks. However, the report questions the credibility of its plans given their reliance on asset sales, as well as unproven carbon capture and storage technology and carbon offsets.
  • TotalEnergies, Repsol and bp have 2050 net-zero goals and targets for absolute reductions in emissions by 2030 covering the full life-cycle of their products, but their targets exclude emissions from some key activities.
  • Shell, Equinor and Occidental Petroleum – the highest ranked North American company – have 2050 net zero goals covering full life-cycle emissions, but no interim targets.
  • Suncor and Chevron have targets covering full life-cycle emissions but have not committed to reducing them to net zero.
  • ExxonMobil and Conoco are among 16 companies in the bottom tier with targets that only cover operational emissions. They are all North American or majority state-owned companies.
  • Aramco, in last place, is the only company to limit emissions reductions targets to assets that it wholly owns and operates. It has set no baselines, pledging only to reduce emissions against amounts forecast under business-as-usual scenarios.

Saidrasul Ashrafkhanov, Research Associate, Oil, Gas & Mining, and report co-author, said: “It is important to frame targets that are aligned with the Paris target, but this is just a start. The pace of reductions must be fast enough to align with 1.5°C, and the plans to achieve them must be credible, delivering real cuts in global emissions.”

The report says many corporate climate plans lack credibility, relying on: divestments, which can “make space” for new projects and do not reduce emissions form the assets being sold; emissions mitigation technologies that are unproven at scale, such as carbon capture and storage; and third-party carbon offsets.

It also notes that some companies are backsliding on their commitments: bp scaled back its 2030 target from a 40% to 25% cut in production; and Shell, which had previously said oil production would decline by 1-2% a year to 2030, announced that its liquids production would remain stable through to 2030.

Some companies argue they should not be expected to set targets covering emissions from the end-use combustion of their oil and gas because they cannot influence how their products are used. However, the report says this “ignores the fact that the business model of a typical oil and gas company is built on the premise that its products will inevitably be burned and the embedded emissions released.” Burning oil and gas accounts for the majority of their life-cycle emissions.

Once the embargo lifts the report can be downloaded here:



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 Notes to Editors 

About Carbon Tracker

The Carbon Tracker Initiative is a not-for-profit financial think tank that seeks to promote a climate-secure global energy market by aligning capital markets with climate reality. Our research to date on the carbon bubble, unburnable carbon and stranded assets has begun a new debate on how to align the financial system with the energy transition to a low carbon future.