Consultant report

Upstream emissions of fossil fuel feedstocks consumed in the European Union

Alternative fuels Life-cycle analyses
Fuels GHG emissions

In 2009, the European Union amended the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) to introduce a target for European transport fuel suppliers to reduce the lifecycle carbon intensity (‘CI’) of their fuel by at least 6% by the end of 2020.

The International Council on Clean Transportation, working with Stanford University, Energy Redefined, and Defense Terre, was contracted by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Climate Action (DG Clima) for project CLIMA.C.2/SER/2011/0032r on the Upstream Emissions of Fossil Fuel Feedstocks for Transport Fuels Consumed in the EU. This report presents the results of several desk studies on the EU crude oil market and associated empirical and modeled data on GHG emissions; presents a model for lifecycle analysis of crude oil extraction; and provides an estimate of the carbon intensity of oil supplied to the European Union in 2010.

The project used the Oil Production GHG Emissions Estimator, or OPGEE, a life-cycle assessment tool for the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from the production, processing, and transport of crude petroleum. The model was developed by Stanford University for the California Air Resources Board to use in its Low Carbon Fuel Standard, supported by the European Commission and the ICCT. The OPGEE model is an open-source, fully public engineering-based model of GHG emissions from oil production operations. It has been peer-reviewed in California by legislators and industry leaders as well as academic experts in the field of petroleum engineering.

The report presents a review of the legislative and scientific background for the assessment of the carbon intensity of different crude oils, introduces OPGEE, presents the first analysis using OPGEE of the carbon intensity of crudes imported into the EU, and discusses policy options to allow carbon savings from reduced crude oil carbon intensity to be credited.

The report is available for download from the European Commission here.