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Petronas is Asia's first oil company to set net zero target

The Malaysian oil and gas giant has declared it will be carbon neutral by 2050.

Malaysian state-owned energy firm Petronas has declared that it will be carbon neutral by 2050.

The company’s president and group chief executive Tengku Muhammad Taufik announced the news on Wednesday (28 October) during a townhall meeting.

Petronas becomes the first oil company in Asia to set a net zero target, and follows the likes of international majors Shell, Total, and BP, which have also set decarbonisation goals in the last year following increasing pressure from consumers and shareholders to respond to the climate emergency.

“Net zero carbon emissions 2050 will stretch Petronas’ efforts to reduce carbon emissions to net zero and create new and inclusive opportunities that contribute towards an equitable socioeconomic development,” the company said in a statement.

Taufik said: “We are making this commitment to make a positive change — 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.”

The news emerged two days after the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, of which Petronas is a new member, set new conditions for all of its members to be net zero by 2050.

Petronas is new to sustainability, but has recently started to increase its investments in renewable energy. Last year, the company acquired Singapore-based solar firm Amplus Energy Solutions. In September the Malaysian firm was reportedly looking to acquire a stake in Delhi-based Tata Power Renewable Energy.

In announcing its net zero “aspiration”, the company stated on its website that it plans to cap greenhouse gas emissions to 49.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent for its Malaysia operations by 2024, and increase renewable energy capacity to 3,000 megawatts by 2024.

Its plans to reduce emissions include reducing hydrocarbon flaring and venting, capturing methane emissions and optimising production and operations. It also plans to develop low and zero carbon fuels and products, and invest in nature-based solutions.

Thiagarajan Nadeson, head of market transformation for conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia, said it was good to see more companies committing to net zero emissions.

“We need a holistic transition to net zero emissions by 2050 as climate change is one of the biggest threats facing nature and humanity. Malaysia has an opportunity to develop renewable energy to transform our national energy mix and to accelerate and increase our ambition under the Paris Agreement,” he said.

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