Oil giant to use recycled EV batteries in a bid to clean up its drilling sites — here’s why the move is likely not as big as the company claims

The oil industry, along with gas and coal, supplies the dirty energy that our society relies on for heat, electricity, transportation, and more. These energy sources contribute more pollution and heat-trapping gases to our environment than any other industry sector on Earth.

Some oil companies, however, are attempting to rebrand their activities in order to make themselves seem less environmentally harmful. The latest on this front is the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), the state-owned oil company of the United Arab Emirates, announcing that it will use repurposed electric vehicle batteries to “clean up” its oil drilling rigs.

The Battery Energy Storage System that ADNOC is touting here is an improvement over the way the company does things, as it will reportedly reduce the heat-trapping pollution of its drilling rigs by 25% – but the overall positive impact is pretty negligible if the entire point of the operation remains drilling for oil.

According to the United Nations, “coal, oil, and gas … are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions.”

AP reports that ADNOC claims it is aiming to achieve “net zero emissions in its operations” by 2045. It is unclear how that would be possible without transitioning from supplying the dirty energy sources that are the very cause of that pollution, although it’s likely that the company will attempt to obfuscate its overall impact using misleading “carbon credits.”

One of ADNOC’s stated methods for “mitigating climate change” is planting a bunch of mangroves. Again, it’s a step in the right direction, but the idea that this will mitigate the climate effects caused by supplying 3% of all global oil and creating more than 26 million tons of heat-trapping gas pollution from its operations in 2022 alone is suspicious, at best.

According to non-governmental organization Global Witness, ADNOC is on pace to increase its pollution by more than 40% by 2030 compared to 2023.

The company was also recently revealed to have hidden its methane gas — an even more potent heat-trapping gas than CO2 (though not as long-lasting) — air pollution from the United Nations for almost a decade, per The Guardian.

The only way to mitigate the effects of the dirty energy sources that have caused the overheating of our planet, widespread air pollution, and increasing severe weather events is to transition away from those sources and toward clean, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar — not to buy into oil companies’ attempts at greenwashing their operations.

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