Greenhouse gas emissions GHGs

Greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs)

The direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from facilities we operate were 73 million tonnes on a CO2-equivalent basis in 2017, up from 70 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2016.

We use global warming potentials (GWP) from the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 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 main contributors to this increase were the inclusion of the assets previously operated by the Motiva Enterprises LLC joint venture in the USA in our data from May 2017 and the return to production of previously shut-down units at the Bukom site in Singapore. The level of flaring in our Upstream and Integrated Gas businesses combined increased by slightly less than 10% in 2017, compared with 2016, partly due to the restart of facilities at Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) that were offline for most of 2016. These increases were partly offset by divestments (for example in Canada, Gabon, Malaysia and the UK) and reduced production at our Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Qatar.

The indirect GHG emissions from the energy we purchased (electricity, heat and steam) were 12 million tonnes on a CO2-equivalent basis in 2017, up from 11 million tonnes of COequivalent in 2016. These emissions were calculated using a market-based approach, 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.

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

We have achieved external verification of our 2017 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 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.

GHG Reporting

Visit our online sustainability report to read about our GHG emissions

Download our response to shareholder resolution on climate change

Find out more about our climate change public policy positions

Find out more about our portfolio resilience

Visit our performance data section on the Online Sustainability Report 2017

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.

Download our response to the 2018 CDP Climate Change Information Request

Visit the CDP website

GHG breakdown

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
(million tonne CO2 equivalent)
Operational
Control - 2016
Operational
Control - 2017
Equity - 2016 Equity – 2017
Direct (Scope 1) 70 73 100 97
Energy indirect (Scope 2) 11 12 13 13

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 2016 2017
Use of our refinery and natural gas products (Scope 3) 600 579

See a more detailed breakdown of our 2017 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.

Direct (Scope 1)

Sector

Operational
Control - 2016

Operational
Control - 2017

Equity - 2016

Equity – 2017
Downstream (including shipping and oil sands) 37.6 41.1 50.1 47.1
Upstream 18.7 19.6 25.1 25.4
Integrated Gas & New Technologies 13.7 12.0 24.6 24.1

Energy Indirect (Scope 2)

Sector

Operational
Control - 2016

Operational
Control - 2017

Equity - 2016

Equity – 2017
Downstream (including shipping and oil sands) 7.3 7.5 9.5 9.2
Upstream 1.4 1.4 1.5 1.3
Integrated Gas & New Technologies 2.0 2.4 1.6 2.0

Emissions intensity

Emissions intensity is a measure of the amount of GHG emitted per unit of oil or gas produced by our upstream operations or crude and feedstock refined by the downstream facilities where we have operational control.

 

Intensity ratio Units of measure 2016 2017
Upstream/midstream [A] Tonne CO2 equivalent / tonne of hydrocarbon production available for sale 0.166 0.166
Chemicals  Tonne CO2 equivalent / tonne of petrochemicals produced 0.44 0.46
Refineries [B] Tonne CO2 equivalent / UEDCTM 1.18 1.14

[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] 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.

GHG Assurance

GHG assurance

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.

1. Limited assurance of the 2017 direct and energy indirect data under operational control

2. Limited assurance of the 2017 scope 3 emissions from the use of refinery products and natural gas

3. Limited assurance of the 2017 direct and energy indirect data on an equity basis

In addition, we undertake external verification to a level of reasonable assurance at the major installations where we have operational control. These audits 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 2017 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.

TCFD

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: 

TCFD Recommendation Disclosure

Governance: Disclose the organisation’s governance around climate-related risks and opportunities. 

a) Describe the Board’s oversight of climate-related risks and opportunities.

Annual Report (page 62-63): “Our governance and management of climate change risks and opportunities” section, including references to the Reports’ sections “Corporate governance” (page 82) and ”Directors’ Remuneration Report” (page 94)

b) Describe management’s role in assessing and managing climate-related risks and opportunities.

Annual Report (page 62-63): “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 organisation’s businesses, strategy and financial planning, where such information is material. 

a) Describe the climate-related risks and opportunities the organisation has identified over the short, medium and long term.

Annual Report (page 65-66): “Our strategy on climate change”

CDP submission: Describes detailed examples

b) Describe the impact of climate-related risks and opportunities on the organisation’s businesses, strategy and financial planning.

Annual Report (pages 65-66): “Our strategy on climate change”

Shell Energy Transitions Report (page 24):  “Our resilience in the medium term, to 2030”

c) Describe the resilience of the organisation’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 organisation identifies, assesses and manages climate-related risks. 

a) Describe the organisation’s processes for identifying and assessing climate-related risks.

Annual Report (pages 62-63): “Our governance and management of climate change risks and opportunities”

Sustainability Report section: “About this report”

b) Describe the organisation’s processes for managing climate-related risks.

Annual Report (pages 62-65): “Our governance and management of climate change risks and opportunities” and “Our portfolio and climate change”

Sustainability Report sections: “Energy Transition" and “Embedding sustainability into projects”

c) Describe how processes for identifying, assessing and managing climate-related risks are integrated into the organisation’s overall risk management.

Annual Report (page 82): “Controls and procedures”

Sustainability Report section: “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 organisation to assess climate-related risks and opportunities, in line with its strategy and risk management process. Sustainability Report sections: “Environment data” and “Our 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

Shell Energy Transitions Report (page 24): “Our resilience in the medium term, to 2030”

c) Describe the targets used by the organisation to manage climate-related risks, opportunities, and performance against targets. Annual Report (pages 65-66): “Our strategy on climate change”


Download this table

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.

You May Also Be Interested In

The energy future

How will the world produce more, cleaner energy to power our homes and cities, and fuel our vehicles in decades to come?

Natural gas

We are helping to power lives around the world with natural gas, the cleanest-burning hydrocarbon.