Despite lacking a pledge on net-zero emissions, US supermajor Chevron has plans to further dive into greenhouse gas emissions reductions, carbon capture and offsets.

Chief executive Mike Wirth said clarification on progress toward net-zero emissions and reductions of Scope 3 emissions, which shareholders voted to reduce in May, will be present in next month’s update to Chevron’s climate change resilience report.

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“An ultimate pathway to net zero will require technology advancements, more ambitious government policy, and development of large offset markets,” Wirth said during the company's Energy Transition Spotlight on Tuesday.

Jeff Gustavson, president of Chevron New Energies, said the company is planning to invest directly in scalable nature-based solutions like soil carbon storage, reforestation, and mangrove reforestation. Although Chevron has been involved with offsets for decades, the expanded investments will pair offsets with product supply.

A partnership with Pavilion Energy will supply about 500,000 tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year to Singapore, with each cargo accompanied by a statement of its greenhouse gas emissions measured from wellhead to discharge port.

Emissions statements like this are an important step to reducing emissions since they focus on accurate measurements of emissions rather than estimates, which are often used in LNG cargoes and can lead to inaccurate offsets.

One way Chevron is hoping to drive down its emissions is through carbon capture and storage. The US giant has a number of pilots underway through its San Joaquin Valley operations in California, and recently announced a memorandum of understanding with Enterprise Products Partners to explore carbon capture, utilisation and storage opportunities in the US Gulf Coast and the Mid-continent.

It also operates a CCS project at its Gorgon LNG development in Western Australia, however, that project has, so far, failed to live up to expectations, only capturing a fraction of the emissions forecast following a troubled and delayed start-up.

Methane management and flaring reduction

Chevron has a target to reduce methane intensity to two kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent per barrel by 2028, a 50% reduction from the 2016 baseline.

A key part of reducing methane emissions is detecting them. Chevron is in the process of expanding its methane detection capabilities to include airbourne sensors using satellites, aircrafts and drones, along with traditional ground sensors. The company is also exploring aerial campaigns for the Gulf of Mexico and Argentina.

“Methane detection capability is critical to the world’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and our work with industry and academic partners is an important contribution to the accuracy and credibility of global methane reporting,” said Bruce Niemeyer, vice president of strategy and sustainability for Chevron.

Other technology to reduce methane emissions is being studied, such as using nitrogen in oil storage instead of natural gas. A layer of natural gas is often used in oil tanks to prevent air from entering the tank, but using nitrogen instead could reduce tank methane emissions by 95%, Chevron said.

Chevron is working to reduce overall flaring by more than 60% as well. In its Agbami deep-water production facility in Nigeria , the company reinjects natural gas into the reservoir. If a compressor goes offline, that gas is typically redirected to flaring. However, the company is working on a project to ensure the gas continues to be injected, even in the case of a downed compressor.

This project would reduce Chevron’s equity emissions by more than 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

Energy use

Energy use makes up 70% of Scope 1 and 2 emissions at Chevron, and the company is working to meet 70% of energy demand in the Permian basin of west Texas and south-eastern New Mexico with renewable power.

Chevron previously bought 65 megawatts of wind power for the region, and recently partnered with Algonquin Power and Utilities to build an additional 120 MW of solar source energy. This is expected to reduce emissions by 300,000 tonnes per year.

The company said all operated drilling rigs and completion spreads in the Permian basin have been converted to direct electric natural gas or "dual fuel" power, rather than diesel fuel, which will reduce emissions another 100,000 tonnes per year.