Greenhouse Gas emissions GHGs

The direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from facilities we operate were 76 million tonnes on a CO2-equivalent basis in 2014, up from 73 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2013.

The main reasons for this increase were the restart of production at Majnoon in Iraq following completion of refurbishment activities and start-up of the new Central Processing Facility in September 2013, and higher production at the Pearl GTL plant in Qatar leading to increased operational flaring of excess waste gas. 

The indirect GHG emissions from the energy we purchased (electricity, heat and steam) were 10 million tonnes on a CO2-equivalent basis in 2014, the same as in 2013.

We expect that maintaining the energy efficiency levels of recent years will be more difficult in the future as existing fields age and new production comes from more energy-intensive sources. This is expected to increase our GHG emissions over time.

Our focus is on the direct and indirect emissions of the companies and joint ventures where we are the operator.

For information on the limitations of our GHG data see the GHG Assurance data tab.

We have achieved external verification of our 2014 direct and indirect GHG data from facilities we operate.

See our GHG Assurance tab for more details.

Download the Petroleum Industry Guidelines for Reporting Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Footnote: This new edition of the Petroleum Industry Guidelines of May 2011, (API, IPIECA, OGP) has revised chapters on organisational boundaries, references to scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and uncertainty.

GHG Reporting

Visit our online Sustainability Report to read about our GHG emissions - opens in new window

Download our Response to shareholder resolution on climate change - opens in new window

Visit our performance data section on the Online Sustainability Report 2014 - opens in new window

Shell and the Carbon Disclosure Project

Read more about our approach to climate change in our public response to the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Download our response to the 2015 Carbon Disclosure Project - opens in a new window

Visit the Carbon Disclosure Project website - opens in a new window

Visit our online Sustainability Report to read about our GHG emissions - opens in new window

Visit our performance data section on the Online Sustainability Report 2014 - opens in new window

GHG Breakdown

Emissions by boundary and scope

Below we report emissions on an operational control (100% of emission from companies and joint ventures where we are the operator) and equity basis (equity share of emissions from companies and joint ventures).

The direct (Scope 1) emissions come from the facilities under the operational control or the equity boundary. The energy indirect (scope 2) emissions come from the facilities of others that provide electricity or heat and steam to our operations.

Scope Operational
Control
  Equity  
million tonne CO2 equivalent 2013 2014 2013 2014
Direct (Scope 1) 73 76 95 96
Energy Indirect (Scope 2) 10 10 12 12

Scope 3 emissions are those emissions that we estimate come from the use of our refinery and natural gas products as reported in the Annual Report. 

Scope Annual Report boundary Annual Report boundary
million tonne CO2 2013 2014
Use of our refinery and natural gas products (Scope 3) 600 600

See a more detailed breakdown of our 2014 scope 3 (other indirect) emissions.

Emissions by business sector

Here we report the breakdown of emissions by business sector. These are the direct and energy indirect emissions on both an operational control and equity basis reported in million tonnes CO2 equivalent.  

Sector Operational
Control
Equity
Direct (Scope 1) 2013 2014 2013 2014
Downstream including shipping 39.5 37.1 53 50
Upstream 33.7 38.9 42 45
Energy Indirect (Scope 2)
Downstream including shipping 6.2 6.1 9 9
Upstream 3.5 3.4 3 3

 

Emissions intensity

Emissions intensity is a measure of the amount of GHG produced for each unit of oil or gas produced by our upstream operations or crude and feedstock refined by the downstream facilities where we have operational control. It is the total amount of GHGs emitted (direct and energy indirect) per unit of output or throughput.

Tonne CO2 equivalent / Tonne of production or throughput

Intensity ratio 2013 2014
Upstream * 0.10 0.12
Oil sands ** 0.50 0.49
Chemicals 0.55 0.56
Refineries 0.30 0.29

*excludes oil sands and gas-to-liquids operations

** includes mining and upgrading operations

GHG Assurance

We undertake external verification for our operational control and equity GHG data to a level of limited assurance at the Shell Group and business level. The operational control verification for the previous year’s data is undertaken in February and the equity work is undertaken in May. The assurance statements become available in March and June respectively.

1. Limited assurance of the 2014 direct and energy indirect data under operational control

2. Limited assurance of the 2014 scope 3 emissions from the use of refinery products and natural gas

3. Limited assurance of the 2014 direct and energy indirect data on an equity basis

In addition, we undertake external verification to a level of reasonable assurance at the majority of the major installations where we have operational control. The reasonable assurance audits at the major installations are conducted under the local regulated scheme or in the absence of regulation under Shell’s own program which uses external auditors from a variety of organisations.

Reasonable assurance of the 2014 direct and energy indirect data under operational control

Challenges with equity data

Approximately one quarter of the equity data comes from sources outside our data systems and carries potentially greater uncertainty. The quantification and hence verification of equity emissions takes longer than operational control emissions as we are dependent on receiving data from other parties and reporting timelines vary.

More in Sustainability

Air quality

We take steps to reduce airborne pollutants from our operations and help customers reduce their impact on air quality by using our products.

Sustainability reports

We began reporting voluntarily on our environmental performance with the first Shell Report that covered 1997.

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