The direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from facilities we operate were 71 million tonnes on a CO2-equivalent basis in 2018, down from 73 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2017.
The main contributors to this decrease were divestments (for example, in Argentina, Canada, Gabon, Iraq, Malaysia and the UK). The level of flaring in our Upstream and Integrated Gas businesses combined decreased by more than 35%, compared to 2017, primarily as a result of the Majnoon divestment in Iraq. These decreases were partly offset by inclusion of the facilities previously operated by the Motiva Enterprises LLC joint venture in our data for the full year in 2018, increased production at our Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Qatar, and the start-up of our Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility in Australia.
The indirect GHG emissions from the energy we purchased (electricity, heat and steam) were 11 million tonnes on a CO2-equivalent basis in 2018, down from 12 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2017. 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.
For information on the limitations of our GHG data see the GHG Assurance tab.
We have achieved external verification of our 2018 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, OGP) 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.