Crescent Petroleum CEO emphasises natural gas as a cornerstone in developing nations' energy transition

Majid Jafar highlighted the important role gas will play in enabling the transition, while announcing several important sustainability milestones for Crescent Petroleum

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Published: Tue 14 Nov 2023, 11:28 AM

Natural gas is central to the energy transition in the developing world, but developing countries require better avenues for financing gas projects to begin the transition, Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum, told attendees at the World Energy Capital Assembly in London on November 13.

Delivering the keynote speech at the opening of the assembly, Jafar highlighted the important role gas will play in enabling the transition, while announcing several important sustainability milestones for Crescent Petroleum.

“The question of how to achieve the Energy Trilemma — affordability, availability, and sustainability of energy, has become the central global challenge for humanity around the world and requires close collaboration and alignment between policymakers, investors, and the energy sector,” Jafar told the audience of more than 500 energy executives and financiers at the opening of the assembly. "The urgency of this mission is underlined by the fact that by mid-century global energy demand will surge by 50 per cent as the world's population grows from 8 billion to an estimated 10 billion."

The World Energy Capital Assembly is the flagship event of the Energy Council, the world's leading network of more than 100,000 senior energy executives and professionals from around the globe with the primary mission of connecting energy executives to the finance and investment communities needed to finance the global energy industry.

Natural Gas as a central sustainability pathway

In his comments, Jafar highlighted that developing nations must be enabled to progress towards a lower emission pathway to development, but that policy makers must disabuse themselves of the idea that progress can be accomplished by reducing access to energy supply or simply by cutting consumption. Adoption of natural gas with renewables by the developing world is the most effective means of cutting carbon emissions quickly and affordably.

“Sustained and significant investment is critical to maintaining production levels that will enable the developing world to move out of energy poverty and towards a lower emission pathway to development,” he said. Just by switching the world’s coal fired power to natural gas would cut global carbon emissions by 15 per cent for a $2 trillion investment, he added.

Unlike oil which is more dominated by national oil companies, natural gas is highly dependent on private sector producers who serve local markets. These projects are heavily reliant on private sector investment, sourced from Western capital, Jafar said.

He added, “Lasting change requires genuine efforts from the West to respect and address the needs of developing nations by fulfilling climate funding commitments and providing finance as well as technical support and assistance."

Sustainability milestones

Jafar highlighted Crescent Petroleum’s successes and efforts to be a sustainability leader among its peers. He announced several major sustainability milestones for Crescent Petroleum, which has reduced its carbon intensity to 6.0 kgCO2e/boe, the lowest in the MENA and less than half the industry average, while offsetting the remaining emissions to maintain the company’s carbon neutrality for a third year since 2021. Crescent Petroleum cut total flared and leakages of methane 31 per cent compared to 2021, amounting to just 0.12 per cent of total production, while cutting hazardous waste 90 per cent.

“Our commitment to the Zero Methane Emissions Initiative builds on our long-running efforts to reduce emissions, cut methane leaks, and reach carbon neutrality. Sustainability has been a pillar of our business since our founding in 1971. As we pioneered the development of the Middle East’s vast natural gas resources, we have long believed that reducing fugitive emissions is not just good citizenship but good business,” said Jafar.

Separately, Jafar announced that Crescent Petroleum has become a signatory to the 'Aiming for Zero Methane Emissions' initiative of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), committing to achieving zero methane emissions from its operations by 2030. The pledge reinforces Crescent Petroleum’s long-running efforts to cut methane emissions from its operations and reduce overall carbon intensity to be one of the first oil and gas companies to reach carbon neutrality.

The OGCI 'Aiming for Zero Methane Emissions Initiative' seeks to eliminate the oil and gas industry’s methane footprint by 2030. Methane emissions are responsible for 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions but methane has more than 25 times the impact on climate change than carbon dioxide. Cuts in methane emissions therefor can have an outsize impact on reducing the emissions that cause global warming.

Crescent Petroleum began a fugitive emissions campaign in 2021 at its Khor Mor gas plant using Forward Looking InfraRed (FLIR) technology to accurately identify and fix leaks across the operation. The program reduced fugitive methane fugitive emissions by 42 per cent and is progressing toward zero methane emissions within years.

COP28 in the UAE

Jafar also underscored that the UAE will be an important bridge between the developing and developed world and is an ideal place to host COP28 later this month.

"Climate policies must be revised to reflect the needs and views of the developing nations as well as those of the West. That is why we can all look forward to real and lasting action at COP-28 in Dubai this year. It is the duty of the private sector working to identify the commercial pathways that can deliver the energy trilemma so advancing the mission that matters so much for our planet."

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