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Launch a fossil fuel registry to assist in the identification of "stranded assets"

Charlie Brooks

Sep 20, 2022 10:52


On Monday, Carbon Tracker and Global Energy Monitor announced the launch of the world's first registry of oil and gas reserves, production, and emissions, encompassing data for more than 50,000 fields.

The database makes previously disparate or difficult-to-access data available to the public, including investors seeking a better understanding of which assets are at risk of becoming uneconomic, or "stranded," during the shift to low-energy sources.

It could also benefit activists in their efforts to restrict the production of fossil fuels by applying pressure on corporations or governments.

"It is a big advantage that all of this information is now cross-referenced and searchable. Not just because it will assist us in focusing and refining our thematic engagement and stewardship, but also because it will help us to better manage our resources "The following was stated by Eric Christian Pedersen, Head of Responsible Investments at Nordea Asset Management.

According to the non-governmental organizations that produced it, the Global Registry of Fossil Fuels contains data on fields in 89 countries, representing 75% of global output.

According to Global Energy Monitor (GEM), the registry collects information from numerous sources, including governments, state-owned and commercial enterprises, news and media publications, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and on-the-ground contacts with direct knowledge of a project.

"With the Registry, it will be much easier to incorporate predicted future emissions into the analysis and, as a result, to identify and prioritize the businesses with the greatest risk of possessing assets that are likely to become stranded," Pedersen explained.

The registry has assessed the extent to which a substantial amount of the world's oil and gas reserves will have to remain underground to prevent a dramatic climate change.

"Producing and burning the world's reserves would produce more than 3.5 trillion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than seven times the remaining carbon budget for 1.5C and more than all emissions produced since the industrial revolution," they added.

It is difficult to quantify the life-cycle emissions of a unit of oil, natural gas, or coal; simulations are commonly employed in lieu of measurements, which can vary significantly.

Whether the potent but transient greenhouse gas methane is converted to CO2 equivalent data on a 20-year or 100-year timeline is a factor.

It contributes around five gigatons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions per year, according to Johnny West, the main modeler at Koinon Consulting, who advised Carbon Tracker.

Deborah Gordon, a member of the climate intelligence group at the Rocky Mountain Institute, remarked that such data is necessary for industry and governments to prioritize the most polluted fields.

"Insufficient transparency exists... Obtaining reservoir and activity information is difficult or impossible "Gordon observed.