Sinopec, Cosco Shipping, and Chinese Eastern Airlines have come together to ship China’s first carbon neutral petroleum. The oil which was extracted in Angola travelled across the oceans to reach a petrochemical refinery in Shanghai, China. The petroleum was made carbon neutral through offsetting across the entire life cycle, with different parties responsible for offsetting different sections of the life cycle.
This is the first instance of carbon neutral petroleum shipped in China. It included the collaboration of 3 different industries – an oil & gas company, a shipping company, and an aviation company. While the ‘carbon neutral’ tag might portray a positive picture, carbon dioxide (or its equivalent gases) is being directly produced in this process. Although extensive measures have been taken to offset the carbon, carbon neutral petroleum is still very much an oxymoron.
This initiative doesn’t change the status-quo of petroleum consumption, but it seeks to offset its negative impacts and thus change how it is perceived. Given the scale of petroleum consumption are there enough avenues available for the necessary offsetting? What is the position that carbon neutral petroleum occupies in the transition from fossil fuels to more renewable sources? Is it a transitory product, or will it persist further on in the future?