96 Percent of Upstream Firms Developing New O&G Fields: Report

Germany-based environmental non-profit Urgewald has found that 96 percent of a select 700 upstream companies are developing new oil and gas fields, while 1,023 firms are planning new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, pipelines, or gas-fired power plants.

Urgewald has recently published the second update of the Global Oil & Gas Exit List (GOGEL), a public database that provides a detailed breakdown of the activities of oil and gas companies worldwide. It covers 1,623 companies active in the upstream, midstream, or gas-fired power sector. Companies listed on GOGEL account for 95 percent of global oil and gas production, the organization said in a news release.

According to the update, the industry’s annual capital expenditure on oil and gas exploration has risen by more than 30 percent since 2021. Over the past three years, the oil and gas companies in the database spent a total of $170.4 billion on exploring for new oil and gas reserves. GOGEL lists 384 companies whose average capital expenditure on exploration exceeded $10 million between 2021 and 2023. The top seven exploration companies listed are China National Petroleum Corporation at $5.9 billion, CNOOC at $3.2 billion, Saudi Aramco at $2.8 billion, Pemex at $2.6 billion, Sinopec Group at $2.4 billion, Pioneer Natural Resources at $2.1 billion, and Shell at $ 2.0 billion.

According to GOGEL, 539 companies are preparing to bring 230 billion barrels of oil equivalent (Bboe) of untapped oil and gas resources into production. The seven companies with the largest short-term expansion plans are Saudi Aramco at 16.8 Bboe, QatarEnergy at 16.5 Bboe, Gazprom at 10.7 Bboe, Petrobras at 9.6 Bboe, ADNOC at 9.0 Bboe, TotalEnergies at 8.0 Bboe, and ExxonMobil at 7.9 Bboe. The seven companies are responsible for one-third of global short-term oil and gas expansion, the update noted.

Companies listed on GOGEL are exploring or developing new oil and gas resources in 129 countries. TotalEnergies tops the list of companies expanding in the highest number of countries at 53, followed by Shell with 41, Eni with 40, ExxonMobil with 39, BP with 29 , Petronas with 27, and Chevron and Repsol with 25 each.

The latest GOGEL covers all companies that are developing new LNG terminals, and it provides disaggregated data for the expansion of LNG export and import capacities. According to the database, companies are planning to increase global LNG export capacity by 162 percent. New LNG export terminals are key drivers of large-scale gas extraction in countries like the US, Qatar, or Mozambique, the release said. The seven largest LNG export capacity developers on GOGEL are Venture Global LNG at 71.1 million metric tons per year (mtpa), NOVATEK at 58.2 mtpa, QatarEnergy at 46.5 mtpa, Sempra Energy at 29.4 mtpa, Tellurian at 27.6 mtpa, Shell at 25.2 mtpa, and Cheniere Energy at 22.8 mtpa.

GOGEL also identifies 651 companies that are planning to develop an additional 567 gigawatts (GW) of gas-fired power capacity. If built, these projects would increase the world’s installed gas-fired capacity by 30 percent, Urgewald said. The expansion plans of the seven largest gas power developers on GOGEL alone are Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) at 17.2 GW, Bangladesh Power Development Board at 16.9 GW, Taipower at 14.9 GW, Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) at 9.9 GW, China Huaneng Group at 9.5 GW, China Huadian Corporation at 9.3 GW, and Comisión Federal de Electricidad EPE – CFE at 8.3 GW.

According to the release, GOGEL was created to “speed up the adoption of meaningful oil and gas policies by the financial sector”, offering a wide range of metrics that allow its users to assess companies’ oil and gas expansion plans in the upstream, midstream and gas power sector. GOGEL also allows users to identify companies that are not in line with the IEA Net Zero Emissions Scenario. In addition, the tool “highlights companies’ involvement in selected reputational risk projects that exacerbate violent conflicts, cause immense social and environmental harm or are challenged by lawsuits and local community opposition”, the release said.

GOGEL’s main sources of information are company data sources such as annual reports and investor presentations, Rystad Energy, and Global Energy Monitor. GOGEL is updated each fall and will be expanded over time to cover further subsectors of the oil and gas industry.

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