Greenhouse gas emissions
The direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from facilities we operate were 70 million tonnes on a CO2-equivalent basis in 2019, down from 71 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2018.
The main contributors to this decrease were divestments (for example, in Argentina, Canada, Norway, Iraq, Malaysia and the UK). The level of flaring in our Upstream and Integrated Gas businesses combined increased by about 15%, compared to 2018, primarily as a result of the start-up of our Prelude floating liquefied natural gas installation in Australia and higher levels of flaring in Nigeria, partially offset by our Majnoon divestment in Iraq (mid 2018).
The indirect GHG emissions from the energy we purchased (electricity, heat and steam) were 10 million tonnes on a CO2-equivalent basis in 2019, down from 11 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2018. These emissions were calculated using a market based method, as defined by the World Resources Institute GHG Protocol.
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 could result in an associated increase in direct GHG emissions from our upstream facilities over time.
We use global warming potentials (GWP) from the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on a 100 years time horizon for calculating GHG emissions since 2015. GWP compares the impact of emissions from GHGs with the impact of emissions from the equivalent amount of CO2.
The equity share direct GHG emissions were 105 million tonnes on a CO2-equivalent basis in 2019, up from 102 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2018. The increase was mainly due to inclusion of GHG emissions from relevant lease contracts in our 2019 inventory in line with the International Finance Reporting Standard (IFRS) 16 Leases (adopted by Shell with effect from January 1, 2019); partially offset due to divestments (e.g. in Argentina, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Saudi Arabia). Note: we updated our 2018 equity share direct GHG emissions from 95 million tonnes on a CO2 equivalent basis to 102 million tonnes to include emissions from relevant finance lease contracts.
The equity share indirect GHG emissions from imported energy were 11 million tonnes on a CO2 equivalent basis in 2019 (using the market-based method), the same as in 2018.
For information on the limitations of our GHG data see the GHG Assurance tab.
We have achieved external verification of our 2019 direct and energy indirect GHG data from facilities we operate.
See our GHG Assurance tab for more details.
Footnote: This edition of the Petroleum Industry Guidelines of May 2011 (API, IPIECA, IOGP) has revised chapters on organizational boundaries, references to scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and uncertainty.
Shell and the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project)
Read more about our approach to climate change in our public response to the Carbon Disclosure Project.
Emissions by boundary and scope
Below we report emissions on an operational control (100% of emissions 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.
(million tonne CO2 equivalent)
Control - 2018
Control - 2019
|Equity - 2018||Equity - 2019|
|Direct (Scope 1)||71||70||102*||105|
|Energy indirect (Scope 2)||11||10||11||11|
*Updated from 95 million tonnes to 102 million tonnes on a CO2 equivalent basis to include emissions from relevant finance lease contracts.
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||2018||2019|
|Use of our refinery and natural gas products (Scope 3)||599||576|
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.
Direct (Scope 1)
Equity - 2018
|Equity - 2019|
|Downstream (including shipping and oil sands)||42.2||40.3||53.8*||57.3|
|Integrated Gas & New Energies||13.0||16.3||25.2*||25.9|
*Figures have been revised
Energy Indirect (Scope 2)
Equity - 2018
|Equity - 2019|
|Downstream (including shipping and oil sands)||6.8||7.3||7.7*||8.0|
|Integrated Gas & New Energies||2.4||1.6||1.8*||1.1|
*Figures have been revised
Below we report emission intensities for Upstream and Integrated Gas, refining and chemical facilities under our operational control (100% of direct and energy indirect GHG emissions normalised by an appropriate production value).
|Emissions Intensity||Units of measure||2018||2019|
|Upstream and Integrated Gas [A]||Tonne CO2 equivalent / tonne of hydrocarbon production available for sale||0.158||0.168|
|Chemicals [B]||Tonne CO2 equivalent / tonne of steam cracker high value chemicals produced||0.96||1.04|
|Refineries [C]||Tonne CO2 equivalent / UEDCTM||1.05||1.06|
[A] In tonnes of total direct and energy indirect GHG emissions per tonne of oil and gas available for sale, liquefied natural gas and gas-to-liquids production in Integrated Gas and Upstream.
[B] High value chemicals include olefin products (ethylene and propylene) plus the contained butadiene, benzene, acetylene, and high purity hydrogen production.
[C] UEDCTM (Utilised Equivalent Distillation Capacity) is a proprietary metric of Solomon Associates. It is a complexity-weighted normalisation parameter that reflects the operating cost intensity of a refinery based on size and configuration of its particular mix of process and non-process facilities.
We undertake external verification of 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.
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.
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.
Net Carbon Footprint Assurance
The Net Carbon Footprint (NCF) is determined by first estimating the emissions intensity for each of the energy product supply chains in Shell’s portfolio; this is done using established lifecycle analysis principles and includes both the emissions associated with the production and processing of energy products and the emissions associated with their use. The individual intensities are then aggregated into a single value, with the weighting for each product determined by its sales volume, emissions captured in sinks are deducted to give the final net value.
Shell’s Net Carbon Footprint values for 2016 to 2019 are shown in the assurance statements below. We express our Net Carbon Footprint as the grams of CO2 equivalent per megajoule (gCO2e/MJ) produced for each unit of energy delivered to, and used by, a consumer.
We undertake external verification of our Net Carbon Footprint values to a level of limited assurance at the Shell Group level. This external verification takes place around February. The assurance statements become available in March.
1. Limited assurance of the 2016 Net Carbon Footprint
2. Limited assurance of the 2017 Net Carbon Footprint
3. Limited assurance of the 2018 Net Carbon Footprint
4. Limited assurance of the 2019 Net Carbon Footprint
Shell welcomes the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
The TCFD is a global initiative to get companies across all sectors to assess climate-related risks and opportunities. It recommends that companies disclose information in four areas: Governance, Strategy, Risk Management, Targets and Metrics. Shell supports the work and objectives of the TCFD.
Shell discloses TCFD-relevant information through different channels:
- The Shell Annual Report/20-F provides information on our governance and risk management of climate change.
- Our Shell Energy Transitions Report describes our strategy to remain resilient and thrive through climate-related risks and opportunities.
- The annual Shell Sustainability Report publishes relevant climate-related emissions performance data.
- Periodic Shell scenario publications share our analysis and understanding of the ways the energy system could evolve over the long term.
- Our company website contains further relevant information such as equity emissions performance data, executive speeches, feature articles and news items.
This table shows where to find Shell disclosures that are related to recommendations by the TCFD in Shell reports, publications and websites:
Governance: Disclose the organization’s governance around climate-related risks and opportunities.
a) Describe the Board’s oversight of climate-related risks and opportunities.
|Annual Report (page 91-93): “Our governance and management of climate change risks and opportunities”, including references to the Reports’ sections “Corporate governance” – Safety, Environment and Sustainability Committee (page 129), and “Controls and Procedures” (page 168/169)|
b) Describe management’s role in assessing and managing climate-related risks and opportunities.
|Annual Report (page 91-93): “Our governance and management of climate change risks and opportunities”|
Strategy: Disclose the actual and potential impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities on the organization’s businesses, strategy, and financial planning where such information is material.
|a) Describe the climate-related risks and opportunities the organization has identified over the short, medium, and long term.|| |
Annual Report (page 96-98): “Our strategy on climate change”
|b) Describe the impact of climate-related risks and opportunities on the organization’s businesses, strategy, and financial planning.|| |
Annual Report (page 92): “Our governance and management of climate change risks and opportunities”
Annual Report (page 96): “Our strategy on climate change”
|c) Describe the resilience of the organization’s strategy, taking into consideration different climate-related scenarios, including a 2°C or lower scenario.|| |
Shell Energy Transitions Report (page 50): “Changing our portfolio in the long term, after 2030”
Sky Scenario: Describes our scenarios approach
Risk management: Disclose how the organization identifies, assesses, and manages climate-related risks.
|a) Describe the organization’s processes for identifying and assessing climate-related risks.|| |
Annual Report (pages 71-73): “Our governance and management of climate change risks and opportunities”
Sustainability Report (page 6): “About this report”
|b) Describe the organization’s processes for managing climate-related risks.|| |
Annual Report (page 93): “Our governance and management of climate change risks and opportunities”
Annual Report (page 93): “Our portfolio and climate change”
Sustainability Report (pages 79/80): “Special Report: Nature-based solutions”
Sustainability Report (page 38): “Climate change and energy transition”
Sustainability Report (page 40): “Net Carbon Footprint”
|c) Describe how processes for identifying, assessing, and managing climate-related risks are integrated into the organization’s overall risk management.|| |
Annual Report (page 168): “Controls and procedures”
Sustainability Report (page 11/12): “Sustainability at Shell”
Metrics and targets: Disclose the metrics and targets used to assess and manage relevant climate-related risks and opportunities where such information is material.
|a) Disclose the metrics used by the organization to assess climate-related risks and opportunities in line with its strategy and risk management process.|| |
Sustainability Report (page 88/89): “Environment data”
Sustainability Report (page 43-46): “Managing greenhouse gas emissions”
Annual Report (page 135-154): "Annual Report on Remuneration"
Sustainability Report (page 18): “Executive Scorecard”
|b) Disclose Scope 1, Scope 2, and, if appropriate, Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the related risks.|| |
Greenhouse gas webpage: www.shell.com/ghg: provides our performance data on Scope 1,2,3
Annual Report (page 29): "Risk Factors"
|c) Describe the targets used by the organization to manage climate-related risks and opportunities and performance against targets.|| |
Annual Report (page 19): “Our Strategy”
Annual Report (page 21): “Our strategic themes”
Annual Report (page 96/97): “Our strategy on climate change”
Annual Report (page 142): “Annual Report on Remuneration”
Sustainability Report (page 13): “UN Sustainable Development Goals”
Annual Report (page 94): “Natural Gas”
Annual Report (page 94): “Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage”