US oil and gas producer Devon Energy this week released new environmental performance goals that, if met, would allow the company to reach net zero for Scopes 1 and 2 emissions by 2050.

Are you missing out on ACCELERATE?
Gain valuable insight into the global oil and gas industry's energy transition from ACCELERATE, the free weekly newsletter from Upstream and Recharge.

The goals include reducing Scopes 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, reducing methane emissions intensity by 65%, and eliminating routine flaring by 2030.

“We know that strong environmental performance is essential to protecting the communities in which we live and operate, managing risk, and generating long-term value for stakeholders,” said Devon chief executive Rick Muncrief.

“Devon is setting aggressive goals to lower its carbon impact, while continuing to return value to shareholders. We know the need for oil and gas will remain for decades, but as good stewards, it is incumbent on us to improve how we produce and deliver it.”

Devon will release the 2019 numbers on which its goals are based in its 2021 Sustainability Report, set to be released in the third quarter of this year.

When asked by Upstream about its goals targeting Scope 3 emissions, Devon's chief operating officer Clay Gaspar responded that the company is "prioritizing reducing emissions that are in our control to make the biggest impact in the near term."

“As an E&P company, Devon has no direct control over how the raw materials we produce are ultimately sold and consumed," said Gaspar. "That doesn’t mean that we won’t be engaging with our partners upstream and downstream of operations and working with them to ensure they are meeting key ESG criteria.”

Gaspar added that Devon will begin evaluating the ESG performance of key contractors beginning in 2023.

Other oil producers have begun to focus on Scope 3 emissions, which are at times difficult to track and reduce, since they represent emissions from the use of the products by customers and often exist outside of companies' operations.

Shareholders of US supermajor Chevron recently voted to cut Scope 3 emissions, although the proposal is open-ended and does not set clear targets.

Devon has also committed to reusing water and minimising freshwater use in its activities in the Delaware sub-basin of the prolific Permian basin in the US.