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Petronas and Total look to low-carbon oil production

Attendees at the IHS Markit virtual conference were told that oil companies Petronas and Total are seeking to continue upstream oil production, but with lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Adif Zulkifli of Petronas, the government-owned Malaysian oil company, voiced his company’s ambition to become a low-cost, low-carbon business for oil exploration and production. He said the company was currently examining how it could reduce the emissions of operations, highlighting a need to eliminate flaring by 2030 and venting by 2024.

Arnaud Breuillac, the Exploration and Production President of French energy company and lubricant maker Total, also said upstream production would remain a large part of its business as it seeks to produce more energy with fewer emissions. Indeed, it said it would increase its energy production by a million barrels of oil equivalent per day over this decade, with half coming from renewable energy generation and half from natural gas production.

Total is also looking to reduce the carbon intensity of future developments as well. For example, Breuillac talked about the company’s onshore Tilenga field in Uganda:

“We’ve reduced emissions associated with this production. The average emissions at Tilenga at plateau production will be around 13 kilograms of CO2 per barrel of oil—and that’s much below our average intensity, which is around 20.”

The Tilenga field is estimated to hold around a billion barrels of recoverable oil reserves. It is expected to produce about 230,000 barrels of oil per day when it starts up in 2024.

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