By MICHAEL WATTENWORTH/WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. gas industry is facing the highest costs for carbon emissions since 2005, even as the oil and gas sector has enjoyed some of the most robust job growth in decades, according to a new study by a group of energy companies.
The study by energy industry and trade groups is based on data from companies including Enbridge Inc., Continental Resources Inc., Kinder Morgan Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp., which together have more than 1,500 natural gas drilling rigs in North Dakota and Ohio.
The report comes as the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change is expected to recommend a deal on greenhouse gas emissions that would limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
The agreement, which would be the first ever to require governments to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, has drawn fire from Republicans who have long called it a government giveaway to polluters and industry.
The Republican-led House of Representatives and Senate have already voted to kill the pact.
In the study, Enbridge, which has about 200,000 employees, said it would need to pay $3.7 billion in 2020 to offset carbon emissions for its existing rigs and to meet a 2020 target of zero carbon emissions by 2030.
The company is expected this month to announce additional costs for the emissions from its rigs, according the study.
The company said in a statement that its emissions would decline to zero by 2020, which is also its target, and that it expects the cost to rise over the next two years as it plans to replace aging infrastructure, expand production capacity and spend money on clean-energy technologies.
The study found that if the cost of operating and maintaining the rigs dropped to zero, the company could still achieve the goal of zero CO2 emissions by 2020.
The U.K.-based Royal Dutch Shell PLC has faced increased scrutiny over the past year because of allegations that it is using cheap carbon-capture technology in a project in the Gulf of Mexico that could affect the Atlantic Ocean.
Shell has denied the claims, but the company is facing criticism from environmentalists and regulators who say the company’s project could harm the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.
The group that commissioned the study by the American Petroleum Institute said in its own analysis that the companies’ efforts to offset CO2 are being driven by a combination of factors.
The group said that oil and natural gas companies should consider how they can lower their costs for fossil fuel emissions and how they might be able to expand operations to meet the new CO2 targets.
The companies are likely to face more pressure to lower their carbon footprint because the Paris Agreement is under way.
The accord aims to reduce the world’s CO2 pollution to 25 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and to keep the planet’s temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees C above preindustrial levels by 2100.