Right after the latest IPCC results were declared on 4th April 2022, several new oil and gas projects were approved. Some of the fossil fuel giants including Shell, Exxon, and Gazprom committed to investing around €857 billion in future oil and gas projects by 2030. While the IPCC results couldn’t be any clearer on reducing the global emissions abruptly to avoid hitting the 1.5˚C, it is an unfortunate reality that the wealth madness forsakes the future of the planet like never before.

Expansion in the North Sea

As part of the new energy strategy and in the desire to be energy-autonomous, the UK announced its forthcoming oil and gas projects in the North Sea by mid-2022. North Sea’s black smoke coverage is further worsened by Ithaca Energy’s decision to expand around the Cambo oil field.

Cambo oil field, located in the North Atlantic, about 125km north west of the Shetland islands
The Cambo oil field

Equinor expands in the Atlantic Ocean

Furthermore, Equinor won an €11 billion oil and gas project deal, as approved by the Canadian government. The project will be installed in the Atlantic Ocean and as part of the deal, more than 60 wells will be drilled in the Flemish Pass during the 3 decades of the project operation.

Exxon and Energia invest in Guyana and Africa, respectively

Exxon, expanding its existing oil and gas projects in Guyana further invested around €9 billion in an offshore oil and gas project that will produce around 250,000 barrels of oil per day. In independent research by Rystad Energy, Exxon is estimated to spend over €54 billion on its oil and gas projects. In addition, Energia, a partner of Exxon estimates to start new oil and gas projects in Africa in 2024.

An offshore oil rig located in the North Sea, burning the oil and natural gas

ENN’s investment in LNG

Another one of the several projects approved is the deal between China and the US where ENN signed an agreement with NextDecade to procure 1.5 million tonnes of LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) every year.

Where does the world stand if we continue drilling into the land?

Gazprom, Qatar Energy, Total Energies, and Shell are projected to invest over €373 bn, €52 bn, €29 bn, and €26 bn respectively in their oil and gas projects. The government, deal makers, and industrial giants have constantly pushed on their goals to be energy independent, however, oil and gas are not the way forward. IPCC had clearly stated in their reports on the world hit a 3˚C rise by the end of the century if the emissions are not reduced.

While the advanced technology in renewable energy has successfully shown its capacity to power the world, it is upsetting to realize the stubborn nature of industrial giants to not accept the transition. Oil and gas must be a history – if not by intention, then by compulsion. However, the question is, is the world ready to see the severe consequences until we drill out the last drop of oil? With the research and forecasts from around the globe, it is no more a hidden truth as to what stands ahead of us if we continue to approve these deals. While every country and firm approving such agreements pledges to achieve net-zero emissions over the next decades, the reality falls well short of what is needed to avoid hitting 1.5˚C.

As per IEA’s Net Zero by 2050, if the world adopts the net-zero emission pathway presented in the report, the global economy will rise by 40% by 2030 with 7% less energy usage compared to the present scenario. However, to achieve the target it is critical to increase the annual energy efficiency improvement rate averaging to 4% by 2030. One of the important benefits of the presented pathway is that the emission reduction is not solely focused on CO2 but also on methane which has a global warming potential of 84-87 in 20-year timeframe.

It is critical that government and industrialists multifold the investments in renewable energy to achieve these targets and the right policies are set to cut down the emissions. As per IEA, around 630 GW of solar energy and 390 GW of wind energy installments are required by 2030 to meet the target. While these targets are ambitious but are utter necessary when considering the future of the planet in the next decades.