Saudi Aramco understating emissions by as much as 50%

Saudi Aramco understating emissions by as much as 50%
2 min read
22 January, 2021
A new report finds the state-owned oil giant has omitted emissions data in disclosures to investors, making its carbon footprint worse than previously thought.
A 2019 study found Aramco to be the world's worst state-owned emitter [Getty]
Aramco, the world's largest oil company, has underreported its carbon emissions by as much as 55 million metric tons a year, a new report has revealed.

That colossal figure means the Saudi state-owned oil giant is releasing into the environment as much as double the carbon dioxide it has stated in disclosures to investors, Bloomberg reported.

The report citing a review of public findings reveals that Aramco only listed refineries and petrochemical plants located inside Saudi Arabia or ones abroad wholly owned by the company in carbon disclosures to investors.

The company therefore omitted emmisions from sites located abroad and partly owned by Aramco.

Aramco told Bloomberg it isues internationally accepted guidelines to report carbon emmisions data but has a "clear and deliberate path to increase the scope and details of this disclosure".

The Saudi-owned company said it would disclose both direct and indirect emmisions for 2020 from wholly owned operations within Saudi Arabia and worldwide.

Read more: Saudi oil giant Aramco a leading cause of climate change

Aramco's 2019 emissions were between 75 million and 113 million tons is missing emmisions were included, according to calculations made by Bloomberg.

As much as 55 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent were excluded from data shared with investors, according to the Bloomberg report. That number is approximate to the emissions generated by Portugal.

That toll comes despite the fact Aramco executives touted the company as generating fewer emissions than other producers in the run-up to the 2019 launch of its IPO.

That public listing, the world's largest, has exposed the company to increased scrutiny.

How Aramco compares to other emmiters

Earlier this month, Exxon Mobil released its Scope 3 emissions data for the first time under pressure from investors and climate change activists.

The oil giant has previously only revealed Scope 1 and 2 emissions, which are within its direct control and do not cover the use of its products by consumers.

Exxon Mobil's Scope 1 and 2 emissions for 2019 were slightly above Bloomberg's higher estimate for 2019 Aramco emissions at 120 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. 

Exxon Mobil's Scope 3 emissions for 2019 were 570 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to company data.

A 2019 study by Richard Heede of the Climate Accountability Institute listed Exxon Mobil and Saudi Aramco among 20 companies responsible for more than a third of global carbon emissions.

The leading state-owned emitter was Aramco, reportedly producing 4.38 percent of the global toll.

The study found Aramco responsible for 59.26 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent between 1965 and 2017.

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