Marathon Petroleum Sets Scope 3 Reduction Target

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Independent refiner Marathon Petroleum announced Monday that it will aim to reduce its Scope 3 (end-use) greenhouse gas emissions from the refined products it sells by 15% from 2019 levels by 2030.

The company is also looking to drop Scope 1 and 2 (operational) emissions by 30% in the same time period.

Scope 3 emissions are a major hurdle for refiners amid the accelerating transition to a lower-carbon energy economy. That’s because refiners can directly address Scope 1 and 2 emissions via the purchase of lower-carbon intensity feedstock and stringent safety procedures, but Scope 3 emissions are from consumer activity and thus require the use of offsets and other indirect measures.

Marathon seems to be focusing its Scope 3 reduction strategy on boosting its renewable fuels footprint. The company is converting its Martinez, California refinery to produce renewable diesel, and is already producing the fuel at its Dickinson, North Dakota plant.

Renewable diesel has somewhat lower tailpipe emissions than petroleum diesel, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Marathon noted in a report on its operational sustainability that it has reduced the number of petroleum refineries it operates from 16 to 13 from 2019 to this year, part of a broader rationalization of downstream capacity that has seen over 800,000 barrels per day in throughput capacity shut down or converted to renewables in the US alone.

The company said that in downsizing its outright footprint and converting Martinez to renewable diesel, it is cutting some 30 million tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Marathon also highlighted opportunities in the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) space. The refiner recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Southwest Airlines “to develop and produce SAF,” according to its fourth-quarter earnings presentation.

Expanding into renewable and alternative fuels is emerging as a key pathway to controlling Scope 3 emissions. Independent refiner Phillips 66 set targets late last year to reduce its GHG emissions intensity, it touted its conversion of the Rodeo, California refinery to produce renewable diesel as well as its investments in battery and hydrogen technology.

Both Marathon Petroleum and Phillips 66 also noted their involvement in carbon capture and sequestration hubs as a method of meeting their overall emission reduction targets.

Independent Refiners, Refining, CO2 Emissions, Low-Carbon Policy
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