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Colombia’s biggest oil producer Ecopetrol signs up to Aiming for Zero Methane Emissions Initiative

December 4, 2023

Colombia’s state-run energy company Ecopetrol today announced it has become a signatory to Aiming for Zero, an initiative launched by the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) to encourage the oil and gas industry to cut methane emissions to near zero.

Colombia’s biggest oil producer and Latin America’s fourth largest oil company becomes the second company in the region and joins around 100 companies that have pledged to do everything possible to achieve near zero methane emissions from operated oil and gas assets by 2030.

Reducing methane emissions from oil and gas is critically important to meet the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement and is a top priority for OGCI, which launched the initiative last year. It is also an essential objective of the Oil & Gas Decarbonization Charter, launched this week at COP28 in Dubai.  

Bjørn Otto Sverdrup, Chairman of OGCI’s Executive Committee, said: “I’m delighted that Ecopetrol has become a signatory to the Aiming for Zero Methane Emissions Initiative. It’s great to have another major Latin American oil company focused on reducing methane emissions and we look forward to working with them.”

Since 2017, OGCI’s member companies have collectively halved their absolute upstream methane emissions and cut flaring by 45%. They have also backed the development and implementation of innovative technologies that find and stop methane leaks. 

As a signatory of Aiming for Zero, Ecopetrol has committed to put in place all reasonable means to avoid methane venting and flaring and to repair detected leaks, while preserving the safety of people and the integrity of operations. The results of these efforts will be reported annually and transparently.

Ecopetrol CEO Ricardo Roa Barragan said: “Reducing methane emissions is the most cost-effective approach for decarbonizing Ecopetrol operations and represents the swiftest way to achieve our net-zero targets.

Our commitment is to minimize methane emissions to nearly zero by 2030, aligning with the global imperative to combat climate change.

By joining this initiative, Ecopetrol will gain additional focus to elevate our methane reduction ambitions and advance fast through our commitment with a fair and equitable energy transition. Moreover, it serves as an opportunity to encourage fellow companies in the Oil and Gas industry to expedite their endeavors in curbing methane emissions.”

Background

  • According to the IEA’s Global Methane Tracker 2023, the concentration of methane in the atmosphere from all human activities accounts for around 30% of the global warming the world is currently experiencing. 
  • The energy sector, including oil, natural gas, coal and bioenergy, accounts for nearly 40% of methane emissions from human activity. Other sources of emissions include agriculture and landfills. 
  • The Aiming for Zero Methane Emissions Initiative, which launched in March 2022 already has around 100 signatories and supporters. 
  • The initiative establishes an all-in approach that treats methane emissions as seriously as the oil and gas industry already treats safety. Signatories and supporters of the initiative include major oil and gas producers, service companies and leading global consultancies.
  • The initiative’s signatories and supporters believe virtually all methane emissions from the industry can and should be avoided.
  • OGCI is a CEO-led organization bringing together 12 of the world’s largest energy companies to lead the oil and gas industry’s response to climate change. The group aims to accelerate collective action towards a net-zero emissions future in line with the Paris Agreement.
  • Aiming for Zero complements a number of other multi-stakeholder initiatives to reduce methane emissions including the Methane Guiding Principles, the Oil & Gas Methane Partnership 2.0 and the Global Methane Alliance.

Ecopetrol

  • Ecopetrol S.A. is a public limited company, of the national order, linked to the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Colombia.
  • It is a mixed economy company, of an integrated commercial nature in the oil and gas sector, which participates in all links of the hydrocarbon chain: exploration, production, transportation, refining and commercialization.
  • It has operations located in Colombia, as well as abroad in Brazil, Mexico and the United States (Gulf of Mexico and Permian Texas). Ecopetrol’s shares are listed on the Colombian Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange represented in ADR (American Depositary Receipt). The Republic of Colombia is the majority shareholder with a participation of 88.49%.
  • The long-term strategy of the Ecopetrol, so-called “Energy that Transforms”, fully addresses current environmental, social, and governance challenges, maintaining its focus on generating sustainable value for all its stakeholders.
  • This strategy is comprised of four strategic pillars: (i) Grow with the Energy Transition; (ii) Generate Value through TESG, (iii) Cutting-edge Knowledge, and (iv) Competitive Returns. Consequently, the long-term TESG targets include: regarding environmental issues, achieve (i) net-zero emissions of CO2 equivalent by 2050 (scopes 1 and 2), (ii) zero routine gas flaring by 2030, (iii) zero water discharges by 2045, along with a reduction of 58% to 66% in the intake of fresh water for operations.