Severe climate risk threatens 40 per cent of global fossil reserves

Nearly half of the world’s fossil fuel reserves are vulnerable to extreme weather brought on by climate change, according to an assessment published last month by risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

oil burning during controlled fire
Ottawa announces $1.5 billion for marine safety. Image: United States Navy/Wikimedia Commons

Nearly half of the world’s fossil fuel reserves are vulnerable to extreme weather brought on by climate change, according to an assessment published last month by risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

The threat to 40 per cent of global oil and gas supply makes the cost of climate inaction “genuinely existential”, the report stated.

The analysis says flooding, high temperatures, and rising sea levels are putting more than 600 billion barrels equivalent of recoverable oil and gas at risk, with reserves from the Middle East and North Africa — in particular Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq — at the greatest risk, Offshore Technology reported. “The reliance of these nations on oil for economic development, coupled with their exposure to heat stress and water shortages, puts them in a precarious position.” Maplecroft has described the vulnerability of these nations to extreme weather as the ‘Achilles’ heel’ in their energy strategies.

According to industry newsletter Rizgone, the research note showed 10.5 per cent of the world’s commercially-recoverable reserves at extreme risk based on the company’s Climate Change Exposure Indices, while another 29.5 per cent are in high-risk regions. 

Offshore Technology cited a record 55 Gulf of Mexico oil spills triggered by Hurricane Ida last summer as an example of the risk. Rigzone said that Ida shut down nearly all the oil production in the Gulf and listed the deadly deep freeze in Texas last February and melting permafrost in Russia as additional examples of the climate impacts confronting the industry.

“These types of events are going to become more frequent and more extreme, creating even greater shocks within the industry,” said Verisk Maplecroft environmental analyst Rory Clisby. “Identifying and disclosing these risks in line with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations is now a strategic necessity for [fossil] energy companies if they are to mitigate these threats and offset investor concerns over their transition to a low-carbon future.”

This story was published with permission from The Energy Mix.

Did you find this article useful? Help us keep our journalism free to read.

We have a team of journalists dedicated to providing independent, well-researched stories from around the region on the topics that matter to you. Consider supporting our brand of purposeful journalism with a donation and keep Eco-Business free for all to read. Thank you.

Most popular

Featured Events

Publish your event
leaf background pattern

Transforming Innovation for Sustainability Join the Ecosytem →

Strategic Organisations

Reneum
Danfoss
Trucost
Arabesque
GAR agribusiness and food
Rabobank
Olam
City Developments Ltd