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Creating a Sustainable Future for the Oil and Gas Industry

Creating a Sustainable Future for the Oil and Gas Industry
1st March 2021 - 08:00am
Industry News

Exclusive Interview with Iman Hill, Executive Director, IOGP

Interview Focus:  Creating a Sustainable Future for the Oil and Gas Industry

1. Please tell us more about yourself and work at International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP).

After more than 30 years in the oil and gas industry, working on every continent in a variety of technical and leadership positions, I was appointed Executive Director of IOGP in December last year. Together with a great team of highly dedicated and passionate colleagues I aim to further enhance the understanding of the contribution oil and gas makes to everyday life and to fulfilling global energy demand, as well as the critical role the industry plays in the energy transitions to a lower carbon future. IOGP also acts as a unique forum in which our members identify and share knowledge and good practices to achieve significant improvements in safety, health, the environment, standardization and social responsibility.

2. What has been the latest developments and IOGP’s main focus in 2021?

It is without a doubt that the pandemic has hit the upstream industry hard. As IOGP, we are committed to delivering value to our members through these challenging times. This includes support in the areas of health and safety, from guidance on vaccination to transport of infected personnel etc. One important focus for 2021 is a comprehensive strategic review. This will position IOGP to respond to the expected challenges and transitions in the industry across our membership. Our attention on driving ever better safety, environmental and engineering performance as well as cost efficiencies through standardization will not waver. A couple of examples to share:

Emissions reduction is a top priority for the industry, with OGCI and IPIECA, we are working on Recommended Practices for Methane Emissions Detection. We are also going to complete a Flaring Management Guideline with the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GGFR) Partnership, that will be relevant for Governments, regulatory bodies as well as the oil and gas industry. To further enhance effectiveness and efficiency throughout the supply chain we aim to encourage the oil and gas sector to use the procurement specification developed by our Joint Industry Program. And following the development of several Covid related guidance documents we will publish a comprehensive Well-Being Framework.

3. What trends have recently been dominating the upstream sector?

The challenges resulting from the unprecedented drop of global oil demand by almost 9 mb/d in 2020 and an oil price that dropped to 18-year lows last spring have created a level of uncertainty that is as high as most of us have ever seen. Importantly, the sector is thinking deeply and planning for the energy transitions journey and so, I believe, decision-making will be more heavily influenced by this than in previous years. Logically, I think we will see that Exploration activity will be under real pressure which means that any executed will have to demonstrate value creation. Projects that receive Final Investment Decision go ahead will be large and gas weighted. Upstream capital will be subject to even more stringent allocation and is unlikely to be higher than in recent years. As they have been since the 2014 downturn, operational excellence and cost efficiencies across the value chain will remain key.

4. What issues need to be addressed to strengthen the upstream sector for growth opportunities?

Oil and gas will be needed for the foreseeable future. According to the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario 46% of the global energy demand will still be met by oil and gas in 2040. However, production from existing fields declines by approximately 8 percent each year, which is why investments are required – not only in existing but also in new fields. IOGP’s role in this context is multi-dimensional. Not only do we engage with stakeholders around the globe to enhance understanding of what is needed to meet energy demand, we also support our members in operating as safely and cost-efficiently as possible while minimizing their environmental footprint.

5. How are your member companies working towards Energy Transition?

There is more than one way to achieve a lower carbon future. Countries are taking different approaches, reflecting their unique demand dynamics, capabilities and cultures. IOGP’s Members are supporting these energy transitions in different ways; by reducing emissions in their own operations, by providing cleaner energy and by developing lower carbon technologies such as Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) and clean hydrogen. The oil and gas industry has the know-how, the experience and the project management capabilities to significantly contribute to global society’s efforts to tackle climate change and we take this very seriously as part of our License to Operate.

6. Please could you highlight some of IOGP’s major projects on climate change?

We are engaged in a variety of initiatives and projects. To give you a couple of examples: IOGP’s Engineering Leadership Council is leading an initiative to contribute to the Low Carbon Agenda with engineering standards and operator collaboration to develop a portfolio of deliverables related to electrification, flaring and venting, carbon capture and storage, and energy efficiency. IOGP has been a supporting organization to the Methane Guiding Principles since 2018, and is contributing with a range of good practice guidance including Guidelines for Methane emissions target setting as well as for detection, quantification and reporting.  We have also endorsed the European Union’s ‘Green Deal’, which aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.  And the Sustainable Reporting Guidance published in 2020 will help in reducing the carbon footprint of upstream operations around the world. 

7. How is IOGP working towards creating a sustainable future for the oil and gas industry?

That oil and gas are needed for decades to come is not in question. And even as we reduce reliance on fossil fuels, natural gas will remain needed as the reliable partner of renewables as part of the energy mix. Beyond that, the skills and assets of the oil and gas industry are needed to make Geothermal sources of energy an economic reality. However, what we also look at in the industry is how oil and gas is contributing to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Just to give you a few examples what IOGP is doing to support our industry in this domain:

  • SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being: Land transportation Safety Recommended Practice, Driver Fatigue campaign, Life Saving Rules, Process Safety Fundamentals, Offshore Helicopter Recommended Practices, Statements on COVID-19 vaccination.
  • SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production: Guidance documents on waste management, standardization of procurement specifications for a more effective, cheaper and faster supply chain.
  • SDG 13 – Climate Action: see examples from questions 2 and 6.
  • SDG 14 – Life Below Water: Participation in two workshops convened by the UN Global Ocean Treaty on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), accreditation to participate in UN Oceans, participation in review and consultation process of UN’s Sustainable Ocean Business Principles.