The company, which controls all of Malaysia's oil and gas resources, says achieving net zero will make a 'positive change' towards a sustainable future

Petronas - Faiz Zaki - Shutterstock 404798890

Petronas is wholly owned by the Malaysian government (Credit: Faiz Zaki/Shutterstock)

Petronas has outlined an aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, becoming the latest big oil and gas company to set long-term decarbonisation targets.

The Malaysian state-owned energy giant, which controls the entirety of the country’s oil and gas resources, will “intensify its efforts” to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions, while expanding the role of low-carbon energy in its asset portfolio.

“As the world contends with the many challenges brought about by energy transition, Petronas is embracing its role in providing access to affordable, secure and sustainable energy to businesses and society,” said chief executive Tengku Muhammad Taufik.

“The group is committed to fulfil its purpose in providing cleaner energy and solutions that benefit both the world we live in as well, as the customers we serve, through reduced emissions.”


Petronas will seek operational efficiencies to reach net-zero emissions by 2050

Few specific details were given as to how it will achieve this ambition, but the firm says it will seek to reduce hydrocarbon flaring and venting, capture methane emissions, promote waste recycling throughout its supply chains and target emissions mitigation through energy efficiencies.

It will also “establish greater accessibility to cleaner energy solutions” and invest in nature-based solutions for decarbonisation – something it hopes will open up “new avenues of revenue creation”.

As well as reducing emissions from within its own operations and supply chains, Petronas plans to actively advocate for policies that are aligned with the net-zero agenda.

However, while Scope 1 and 2 emissions – those released directly from its own activities – have been targeted for reduction, there is no mention of how it will address Scope 3 emissions. These are related to the end consumption of the products a company sells, and considered to account for the vast majority of global greenhouse gases.

“We are making this commitment to make a positive change,” said Taufik. “Not only to ride the energy transition — but because a fundamental shift is needed, and the organisation wants to be part of the solution for the world that yearns for a path towards a more sustainable future.”

Several major oil and gas producers have set out net-zero plans this year, swayed by growing pressure from policymakers, investors and the public to take action to address climate change.

The financial impact of coronavirus has added extra urgency to these strategic shifts, as hydrocarbon companies grapple with record demand loss for their products and falling commodity prices.

Huge financial losses have been recorded industry-wide throughout the year, leaving firms seeking out cost-cutting measures, including sizeable reductions to the global workforce.