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Over 1,000 Oil and Gas Companies Around the World Plan to Expand Infrastructure

Fueling the climate crisis, companies are planning to expand global liquefied natural gas capacity by 162 percent.

Men in white suits work to clean up the oil spill at Cavero beach after about 6,000 barrels (159 liters each) of oil spilled during the unloading of a tanker at the La Pampilla refinery owned by the Spanish energy company Repsol, on January 27, 2022, in Ventanilla, Peru.

More than a thousand fossil fuel companies around the world are currently planning to build new liquefied natural gas terminals, pipelines, or gas-fired power plants even as scientists warn that fossil fuel expansion is incompatible with efforts to prevent catastrophic warming.

That’s according to an updated database released Wednesday by Urgewald and dozens of partner groups. Described as the most comprehensive public database on the fossil fuel industry, the Global Oil & Gas Exit List (GOGEL) covers 1,623 companies that are operating in the upstream, midstream, or gas-fired power sector and collectively account for 95% of global oil and gas production.

The updated database shows that 1,023 are plotting expansions of fossil fuel infrastructure, threatening to lock in years of planet-warming emissions as extreme weather fueled by the climate crisis wreaks havoc worldwide. The World Meteorological Organization said Wednesday that global greenhouse gas concentrations reached a new high once again last year.

“The magnitude of the industry’s expansion plans is truly frightening,” said Nils Bartsch, Urgewald’s head of oil and gas research. “To keep 1.5°C alive, a speedy, managed decline in both oil and gas production is vital. Instead, oil and gas companies are building a bridge to climate chaos.”

According to the 2023 GOGEL, 96% of the 700 upstream oil and gas companies in the database are exploring or actively developing new oil and gas fields, projects that Urgewald said “severely jeopardize efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 °C.”

Nearly 540 companies in the database are collectively planning to produce 230 billion barrels of oil equivalent (bboe) over the short term, the database shows.

“The seven companies with the largest short-term expansion plans are Saudi Aramco (16.8 bboe), QatarEnergy (16.5 bboe), Gazprom (10.7 bboe), Petrobras (9.6 bboe), ADNOC (9.0 bboe), TotalEnergies (8.0 bboe) and ExxonMobil (7.9 bboe),” Urgewald noted. “These seven companies are responsible for one-third of global short-term oil and gas expansion.”

The database also shows that fossil fuel companies are planning to expand global LNG capacity by 162%, a significant threat to critical climate targets. A United Nations-backed report published last week warned that fossil fuel expansion plans are “throwing humanity’s future into question.”

Urgewald pointed specifically to the LNG boom in the U.S., which the group said is “cementing its position as the world’s largest export hub for LNG” with 21 new export facilities planned along the Gulf Coast. Those facilities account for more than 40% of worldwide LNG expansion documented in the GOGEL database.

“Most of the fossil gas that will be exported from these terminals stems from the Permian Basin, the heart of the U.S. fracking industry,” Urgewald observed.

The updated database shows that nearly 80 companies — including Exxon, Chevron, and BP — are currently operating in the Permian Basin, located in the U.S. Southwest.

Climate campaigners and experts have also sounded alarm over Calcasieu Pass 2 (CP2), a planned $10 billion LNG export hub that would ship up to 24 million tons of gas annually once it is completed.

“The fossil fuel industry wants to pave undeveloped wetlands all along the coast with LNG facilities like NextDecade Corporation’s Rio Grande LNG Terminal, Rebekah Hinojosa, a member of the South Texas Environmental Justice Network said Wednesday. “Besides their environmental implications, these plans violate Indigenous sacred lands, and people working in fishing, shrimping, and eco-tourism risk losing their jobs. Our communities refuse to be sacrificed for the fracking industry’s dirty gas exports.”

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