Fossil fuel registry launched to help identify ‘stranded assets’

Fossil fuel registry launched to help identify ‘stranded assets’

Written by Shadia Nasrallah and Simon Jessup

LONDON (Reuters) – Carbon Tracker and Global Energy Monitor said on Monday they have launched the world’s first record of oil and gas reserves, production and emissions, with data on more than 50,000 fields.

The database makes previously disparate or otherwise inaccessible data available to the public, including to investors trying to better understand which assets may be at risk of being uneconomic, or ‘stuck’, in the low-energy transition.

It can also aid activists in their efforts to pressure producers or governments to reduce fossil fuel production.

said Eric Christian Pedersen, Head of Responsible Investments at Nordea Asset Management.

The Global Fossil Fuel Register contains data for fields in 89 countries, covering 75% of global production according to the NGOs that developed it.

Global Energy Monitor (GEM) said the registry collected data from sources including governments, state-owned and private companies, news and media reports, NGOs and contacts on the ground providing first-hand information on the project.

โ€œWith the registry, it would be much easier to include projected future emissions into the analysis โ€” thus identifying and prioritizing companies with the greatest risks of harboring potentially stranded assets,โ€ Pedersen said.

While there is little doubt that much of the world’s oil and gas reserves must remain underground to avoid a major climate deterioration, the record has put a number on that.

“Production and combustion of the world’s reserves would produce more than 3.5 trillion tons of greenhouse gas emissions, more than seven times the remaining 1.5ยฐC carbon budget and more than all emissions since the Industrial Revolution,” they said.

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It is not easy to calculate the life cycle emissions of a unit of oil, gas or coal, and they are often based on calculations rather than measurements which can vary widely.

One factor, for example, is whether methane is a potent but short-lived greenhouse gas being converted into CO2-equivalent data in a 20-year time frame instead of 100 years.

โ€œIt may sound dry and technical, but it adds about another five gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2 equivalent) emissions per year,โ€ said Johnny West, senior model designer, from Koinon Consulting, which advised Carbon Tracker.

Such data is important so that industry and governments can tackle the dirtiest areas first, said Deborah Gordon, of the Climate Intelligence Group at the Rocky Mountain Institute.

“There is very little transparency…it is difficult, if not impossible, to be sure of reservoir and activity data,” Gordon added.

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