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    OMV's Focus on Gas, Petchems will Reduce Carbon Footprint: CEO


The Austrian producer will reduce its carbon emissions by focusing more on gas and petrochemicals, rather than crude oil sales, its CEO Rainer Seele has said.

by: Joseph Murphy

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OMV's Focus on Gas, Petchems will Reduce Carbon Footprint: CEO

OMV is reducing its carbon footprint by increasing the share of gas in its production mix at the expense of crude oil, the Austrian firm's CEO Rainer Seele said on August 5.

Gas accounted for almost 62% of the 464,000 barrels of oil equivalent/day in fossil fuels that OMV produced in the second quarter, versus 56% of its output a year earlier.

"We will continue to increase the share of natural gas at the expense of crude oil in our production as gas is greener," Seele said in an interview posted on OMV's website.

OMV is also expanding its petrochemicals business, meaning that more of the oil it does produce its processed into plastics and other feedstocks, rather than burnt, Seele said. At the end of their useful life, these plastics can then be recycled into synthetic crude using OMV's ReOil process, he said.

OMV struck a $4.7bn deal in March with the UAE's Mubadala, to expand its stake in Vienna-based plastics giant Borealis from 36% to 75%. Borealis' flagship project is the Ruwais complex in the UAE, where it is partnered with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc). Ruwais is undergoing an expansion that will establish it as the largest integrated refining and petrochemicals hub in the world.

"By increasing our stake in plastic producer Borealis, we are investing €4.6bn in the future of the climate – away from fuels and towards high-value plastics that bind the CO2 for longer," Seele said. "These plastics are important for the energy transition, by the way, for producing electric vehicles, or high-voltage cable systems or solar panels."

OMV aims to reduce its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions to net zero by 2050. By 2025, it wants to decrease the carbon intensity of its operations by at least 30% versus the level in 2010. This will be achieved primarily through energy-efficiency measures, but also using solar power for the company's operations.

"Other technologies, such as using hydrogen or carbon storage and utilisation, still require more work on their development, along with the appropriate political and regulatory frameworks before they can be implemented," Seele said.

Reducing OMV's Scope 3 emissions – emitted from the company's products when they are used by consumers – is more complex and requires "joint effort by policymakers, industry and the end customers," the CEO said. 

"We want to and we will make a key contribution to a lower carbon world. Our sector is not the enemy of climate action – we are part of the solution," he said.