Big oil welcomes COP28 call to move away from fossil fuels in ‘orderly’ way

Climate agreement may fail to result in falls in oil and gas production.

The world’s largest oil producers have saluted the COP28 agreement’s focus on an “orderly” move away from fossil fuels and a continued role for “transitional” energy sources such as gas.

The compromise reached on Wednesday included a reference to fossil fuels for the first time in three decades of UN climate agreements but failed to support phasing them out.

France’s TotalEnergies, whose chief Patrick Pouyanné attended as a guest of the UAE, said the agreement aligned with the company’s strategy and praised the role played by COP28 president Sultan al-Jaber, head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Adnoc.

In a statement, Total applauded his pragmatic presidency, which brought together western nations, the Global South, and oil and gas producing countries “to openly discuss the most challenging issues”.

The US oil industry, represented by the American Petroleum Institute, also backed the deal, noting that calls by ministers from more than 100 countries for the “complete phaseout of fossil fuels” had failed.

The agreement “calls on parties” to take actions including “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science.”

Adnoc plans to expand production capacity by more than 10% to 5 million barrels a day by 2027.

Offshore Norway, the industry body for the Norwegian energy sector, said investments in the country’s oil and gas sector are expected to rise by 9% next year to almost $22bn.