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China’s Oil Giants Announce Net-Zero Ambitions

China’s largest state-held oil firms have recently announced plans to reduce emissions, with the biggest oil and gas producer PetroChina even pledging net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the first such goal announced by an Asian national oil company.

Chinese companies have started to announce some green initiatives, but analysts say that these will not be either the scale and shift to broader energy companies the way some of Europe’s majors such as BP and Eni have pledged.

PetroChina, alongside the world’s top oil refiner Sinopec and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), have announced in recent weeks various plans to become more involved in cleaner energy initiatives, representatives from the companies have told Reuters.

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PetroChina unveiled the most ambitious plan, targeting net-zero emissions by 2050. The biggest oil and gas producer in China and in Asia also aims to increase fivefold its investment in power generation, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydrogen projects to up to US$1.5 billion per year by 2025, according to Reuters.

Sinopec is looking to become a major player in the hydrogen industry and build “hydrogen highway corridors” along China’s coast.

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According to Chinese media, as many as 12 state firms, including Sinopec and PetroChina’s parent China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), are drafting hydrogen plans “believing the cleaner fuel will become a vital sector in the long run.”

CNOOC, for its part, is taking its offshore oil and gas experience to offshore wind with several projects off China’s coasts.

Commenting on PetroChina’s net-zero emissions plan, Max Petrov, Principal Analyst, Corporate Research at Wood Mackenzie, said:

“Some will label this greenwashing. I just don’t see PetroChina ready to embark on the kind of transformation that the likes of BP and Eni have announced. The company’s mandate remains firmly in oil and gas; E&P will continue to dominate the portfolio. Is PetroChina ready to transform its existing profitable businesses? Highly unlikely. But a lot can change in 30 years.”  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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