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BERLIN, Germany: Urgewald, a non-profit coal research group, and more than 50 NGO partners has published the second update of the Global Oil & Gas Exit List https://gogel.org/

The public database provides a breakdown of the activities of 1,623 companies active in the upstream, midstream or gas-fired power sector accounting for 95 percent of global oil and gas production.

Despite the climate emergency, 96 percent of the 700 upstream companies on GOGEL are still exploring or developing new oil and gas fields while 1,023 companies are planning new LNG terminals, pipelines or gas-fired power plants.

“The magnitude of the industry’s expansion plans is truly frightening. To keep 1.5 °C alive, a speedy, managed decline in both oil and gas production is vital. Instead, oil and gas companies are building a bridge to climate chaos,” comments Nils Bartsch, Urgewald head of Oil & Gas Research.

According to the 1.5 °C roadmap issued by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2021, exploration for new oil and gas reserves is no longer required. However over the past three years, oil and gas companies increased oil and gas exploration in 129 countries by 30 percent to US$ 170.4 billion.

Of the 384 companies that spent more than US$10 million annually during the COVID pandemic, the top seven exploration companies were China National Petroleum Corporation – CNPC (US$ 5.9 billion), CNOOC (US$ 3.2 billion), Saudi Aramco (US$ 2.8 billion), Pemex (US$ 2.6 billion), Sinopec Group (US$ 2.4 billion), Pioneer Natural Resources (US$ 2.1 billion) and Shell (US$ 2.0 billion).

Urgewald says 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 while responsible for one-third of global short-term oil and gas expansion are Saudi Aramco (16.8 bboe), QatarEnergy (16.5 bboe), Gazprom (10.7 bboe), Petrobras (9.6 bboe), ADNOC (9.0 bboe), TotalEnergies (8.0 bboe) and ExxonMobil (7.9 bboe).

TotalEnergies tops the list of companies expanding in the highest number of countries (53), followed by Shell (41), Eni (40), ExxonMobil (39), BP (29), Petronas (27) and Chevron and Repsol (25 each).

Almost one-third of the countries where TotalEnergies is exploring and developing new oil and gas resources include South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Papua New Guinea.

These countries currently have little or no oil and gas production. Instead of transitioning, oil and gas majors are driving new countries into fossil fuel dependency.

“Oil and gas companies like TotalEnergies, Shell, and their local partners are spending billions of dollars to lock African countries into a fossil gas future,” says Leanne Govindsamy from the South African NGO Centre for Environmental Rights. “Gas is not a viable energy option for Africa. It is dirty, expensive and most new projects will take five to seven years to build before they can make any contribution to energy security. What we need is a just transition to affordable and renewable energy for all.”

The U.S. government’s Fifth National Climate Assessment report, mandated by Congress to determine climate change impacts, risks and responses, says present day levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are higher than at any time in at least the past 800,000 years, with most of these emissions occurring since 1970.

Global temperature has increased faster in the past 50 years than at any time in at least the past 2,000 years.

The rate of sea level rise in the 20th century was faster than in any other century in over 3,000 years.

By 2050, the U.S. coastal sea level is forecast to rise 0.92 feet (0.28 metre), and 3.28 feet (1.0 metre) by 2100 based on an intermediate forecast. A high level forecast over the same time frames is 1.41 feet (0.43 metre) and 6.56 feet (2.0 metres).

The current drought in the western U.S. is now the most severe drought in at least 1,200 years and has persisted for decades.

Meanwhile in October and November 2023 five oil majors reported Q3 profits in the billions:

Shell reported profits of £5 billion ($6 billion) and since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has paid dividends of £9.5 billion ($11.6 billion) and repurchased shares worth £21 billion ($25.6 billion) - giving shareholders a total of £30.5 billion ($37.3 billion)

BP reported profits of £2.7 billion ($3.3 billion). Since January 2022 it has paid dividends of £6.5 billion ($7.9 billion) and repurchased shares worth £13.6 billion ($16.6 billion) for a total giveback of £20.1 billion ($24.5 billion) to shareholders.

ExxonMobil reported profits of $9.1 billion and since January 2022, when the energy crisis inflated Exxon’s profits, paid dividends of $26 billion and repurchased shares worth $28 billion, giving shareholders a total of $54 billion.

Chevron reported profits of $6.5 billion. Since January 2022 it paid dividends of $19.5 billion and repurchased shares worth $23 billion, giving shareholders a total of $42 billion.

Total Energies reported profits of €6 billion ($6.45 billion). Since April 2022, a month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has paid dividends of €13 billion ($13.7 billion) and repurchased shares worth €12 billion ($12.7 billion), giving shareholders a total of €25 billion ($26.4 billion).

In 2023 alone, Total paid shareholders €11 billion ($11.9 billion). This could had covered over 90 percent of the €12 billion in financial aid the EU has paid Ukraine this year up to August, according to Global Witness.

Total and its peers gave shareholders US$184 billion between January 2022 and October 2023 from fossil fuel profits: US$50 million a day.
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