Shell, BP, ExxonMobil and a host of other fossil fuel giants have agreed to set their sights on lowering emissions to levels “consistent with the reductions needed to support the goals of the [2015] Paris Agreement” on climate change.

The Oil & Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), a consortium formed to accelerate the industry response to climate change, unveiled a target to reduce the average carbon intensity of its member companies’ aggregated upstream operations in 2025 by at least 8.7% compared to 2017.

“Together we are increasing the speed, scale and impact of our actions to address climate change, as the world aims for net zero emissions as early as possible,” the chief executives of OGCI’s member companies said in a statement.

“Encouraged by the progress we have made towards our target on methane intensity, we have come together to reduce by 2025 the collective average carbon intensity of our aggregated upstream oil and gas emissions.”

The goal is to reach between 20-21kg of CO2 equivalent per barrel of oil equivalent (boe) within five years from a collective baseline of 23kg CO2e/boe in 2017, said OGCI, whose members include BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Total, Chevron, Saudi Aramco, CNPC, Eni, Equinor, Occidental Petroleum, Petrobras and Repsol.

OGCI said the carbon intensity target represents a reduction of between 36 million and 52 million tonnes of CO2e per year by 2025, assuming constant levels of marketed oil and gas production.

OGCI stated that this new goal is a “near-term, practical step” for member companies to continue to expand their contribution to the transition to a low carbon economy, and covers both CO2 and methane emissions from members’ operated upstream activities plus emissions from associated imports of electricity and steam.

The organisation’s next move will be to take specific actions on emissions from liquefied natural gas and gas-to-liquids operations, which are not included in OGCI’s 2017 figure or the 2025 target.

To achieve the new target, the OGCI members will improve energy efficiency, reduce methane emissions, minimise flaring, electrify operations use renewable electricity where possible, co-generate electricity and useful heat, and deploy carbon capture and storage technology.