Energy and carbon summary

Imperial is well-positioned to help support Canada in responsible energy development and production.


The 2018 Outlook for Energy (Outlook) anticipates global energy needs will rise about 25 percent to 2040, led by non-OECD countries. While the mix shifts over the period toward lower carbon-intensive fuels, the world will need to pursue all economic energy sources to meet demand.

Highlights include:

  • Worldwide electricity from solar and wind will increase about 400 percent.
  • Natural gas use will expand, led by growth in electricity generation.
  • Growth in oil demand will be driven by commercial transportation and the chemical industry. Road fuel demands for cars and heavy-duty vehicles reflect efficiency improvements and growth in alternate fuels.
  • Efficiency gains and growing use of less-carbon-intensive energy sources will contribute to declines of nearly 45 percent in the carbon intensity of global gross domestic product (GDP).

The 2018 Outlook also includes sensitivities to provide greater perspective on the energy landscape. For example, greater penetration of electric vehicles (EV) and/or wind/solar deployment beyond the base Outlook assumptions could slow the growth in oil and natural gas demand, respectively. Trends in fuel economy gains lower than the Outlook basis could add more than two million barrels per day of liquids demand by 2040.

Imperial supports the Paris Agreement as an important framework for addressing the risks of climate change.

In 2015, nations convened in Paris with an aim to ‘strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and hold the global average temperature increases to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels‘.

Relative to the Outlook, a theoretical 2°C pathway would generally lower demand for oil, natural gas and coal, and increase use of nuclear and renewables.

However, even under a 2°C pathway, significant investment will be required in oil and natural gas capacity, as well as other energy sources, to meet growing global demand and offset natural field decline. Production from Imperial’s upstream assets will be needed to meet global demand well into the future.

Imperial’s commitment to research has positioned the company well for the challenge of providing reliable, affordable, responsible energy in a lower-carbon future.

Imperial has achieved a GHG emissions intensity reduction of 20 percent in our operated oil sands between 2013 and 2017.

Near-term actions include:

  • Mitigating emissions in our facilities by implementing process reliability and efficiency improvements, including cogeneration.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity in the oil sands by applying liquid addition to steam for enhancing recovery (LASER) at Cold Lake.
  • Providing our customers options to reduce their emissions by producing advanced fuels such as Synergy™ gasoline and Synergy Diesel Efficient™.

In the medium term, Imperial continues to accelerate technology innovation including light hydrocarbons with steam for in situ oil sands recovery. Examples include:

  • Developing in situ opportunities using advanced solvent-assisted, steam-assisted gravity drainage (SA-SAGD) technology. Current estimates indicate GHG intensity and water intensity could be reduced by up to 25 percent through lower energy utilization compared with traditional steam-assisted technology.
  • Successfully concluding Imperial’s ($100 million multi-year) next-generation cyclic solvent process (CSP) pilot at Cold Lake. CSP has the potential to virtually eliminate the use of steam and reduce GHG intensity up to 90 percent in certain areas of our Cold Lake Field.
  • Field trialing enhanced bitumen recovery technology (EBRT) which has the potential to reduce GHG emissions intensity by approximately 60 percent compared with SAGD production.

Longer-term, Imperial is leveraging its relationship with Exxon Mobil Corporation (“ExxonMobil”), which is at the forefront of developing technologies, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), that could play a significant role in a lower-carbon future. CCS has the potential to be viable through the convergence of advantaged technologies and a supportive policy environment.

Read the energy and carbon summary