China certifies first shipment of full life cycle carbon-neutral petroleum

SHANGHAI, Sept. 22, 2021  — Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange (SEEE) has issued the first carbon neutral petroleum certificate to Sinopec, Cosco Shipping and China Eastern Airlines at the certification ceremony for China’s first shipment of full life cycle carbon-neutral petroleum held on September 22 in Shanghai, China.

“Carbon neutral” is a term used to describe carbon-based fuels that when burned will not increase carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. These fuels neither contribute to nor reduce the amount of carbon (measured in the release of CO2) into the atmosphere. Carbon offsets can be made via energy-saving and emission-reduction strategies throughout the production process, and as well through companies purchasing emission reduction quotas through the Chinese Certified Emission Reduction carbon credits, which are used to fund carbon-reducing projects such as tree planting, solar, wind and biomass power generation. Carbon-neutral petroleum fuels are primarily a component of a transition strategy to offset CO2 emissions and allow development and adoption of alternative carbon free fuels such as green hydrogen.

Sinopec, Cosco Shipping and China Eastern Airlines have taken their respective advantages to jointly develop an innovative practice of building “a new model of green transportation,” exploring a cross-industry, full-cycle and zero-emission path – a milestone significance as China’s transportation and energy sectors promote to reach peak carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality.

The crude oil of this carbon neutral petroleum project was produced from Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration and Production Corporation’s share of oil in Angola and was imported by Sinopec’s trading arm Unipec with Cosco Shipping as the carrier. After arriving at Ningbo Zhoushan Port in China, the 30,000 tonnes of crude oil was later transported to the Sinopec Gaoqiao Petrochemical Corporation refinery.

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Sinopec will officially launch the carbon-neutral gasoline and diesel products to the public at designated gas stations this year. In the meantime, Sinopec will be supplying 5,417 tons of jet fuel to China Eastern Airlines to build carbon-neutral flights as a joint effort.

To offset the carbon emissions produced throughout the life cycle of the shipment of oil, Sinopec, Cosco Shipping and China Eastern Airlines actively implemented energy saving and emission reduction strategies, purchased Chinese Certified Emission Reduction (CCER) carbon credits, and hired SEEE as the carbon neutral certification authority.

The project invited China Classification Society Certification Company (CCSC) as the third-party verification agency to measure the carbon dioxide produced throughout the entire life cycle, from oil exploitation, transportation, storage, refining to product consumption accurately, and
then equally offset the emissions to complete China’s first carbon neutral oil shipment.

The three companies have played their respective advantages to reach a common goal. Sinopec took on the responsibility of offsetting the carbon emissions produced from exploitation, storage, processing, transportation of petroleum products, motor gasoline and diesel and LPG combustion; Cosco Shipping undertook the carbon emissions offset responsibility of crude oil transportation and marine fuel combustion; and China Eastern Airlines took on the responsibility of offsetting carbon emissions from aviation kerosene combustion.

“Sinopec is committed to achieve green and low-carbon development. This carbon neutral petroleum project has achieved carbon neutrality from the ‘cradle’ to the ‘grave’ with every drop of oil. It is also the first carbon emissions offset endeavor carried out by companies across three industries, realizing full coverage of carbon neutralization of land, sea and air transportation. The project is of positive effect, and we will thrive to provide safer, cleaner and diversified energy while meeting the target requirements of reaching carbon peak and achieving carbon neutrality,” said Ling Yiqun, Vice President of Sinopec Group.

The petroleum sector has a long process chain with complicated technological processes and difficulties in calculating the carbon emissions. Faced with the new standards of carbon peak and carbon neutrality and to be in line with the general trend of energy transition, the oil and gas industry must find a new development direction that is green, sustainable and reduces carbon and emissions.

Sinopec collaborated with Cosco Shipping and China Eastern Airlines to carry out China’s first shipment of full life cycle carbon neutral oil trade, accurately measuring and offsetting carbon emissions from the project. This partnership explored a clear path to achieve carbon neutral oil trade to establish an industry benchmark and an example to lead the green and clean development of the industry.

Sources: PRNewswire, 21 Sept 2021 & Morning Star, 23 Sept 2021

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