On Friday, November 4, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), a coalition of ten of the world’s major oil companies, announced their commitment of a billion dollars over 10 years to fund low emissions technologies, as part of their commitment to fighting climate change.
A billion dollars sounds like a lot of money, and it is. However, context is important in understanding this announcement. The announcement envisions an average investment of $10M per year over 10 years for each of the OGCI members which is a tiny fraction of their ongoing conventional investments. To make another comparison, a billion dollars would build more-or-less one oil refinery equipped with carbon capture and storage or sequestration (CCS) technologies. That’s just one, over 10 years.
Still, a billion dollars should not be ignored. IndustriALL considers this announcement as a start, and urges the OGCI to ramp up their commitment rapidly and very substantially.
“Many of our affiliates will be happy to hear of the attention being placed on CCS. Many others will be interested in seeing a considerable investment in cleaner technologies and renewables in the near future. Trade unions hope that we can start a dialogue with OGCI on the employment and transition implications of a real shift in their investment priorities” said general secretary Valter Sanches.
In the meantime, the OGCI announces that its initial priorities will be:
- developing technologies to lower emissions and increase car engine and fuel efficiency;
- reduce costs of CSS technology;
- reduce the oil sector's emissions, primarily by reducing flaring of excess gas at fields, increasing the use of CCS and limiting the release of methane; which does not really speak to renewable energy technologies at all.
“IndustriALL Global Union welcomes the announcement of the OGCI. We stand ready to participate in a proactive discussion with the group on the anticipated employment impacts and transition planning required by a change in investment priorities. We sincerely want this initiative to succeed, but we know that it will not unless it can substantially raise its level of ambition and promise a Just Transition for those affected,” added Valter Sanches.