About the Oil-Climate Index


The Oil-Climate Index (OCI) was developed to alert public and private stakeholders to the full array of oils’ climate impacts from various perspectives, with an eye toward informing investment, development, operations, and governance of the oil supply chain. The index provides new knowledge that these stakeholders can take into account to make more informed, strategic, and durable decisions throughout the oil sector. For instance, it can be used to analyze public policies to reduce oils’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The OCI estimates and compares oils’ total life-cycle GHG emissions that stem from their upstream extraction, midstream refining, and downstream end use. Oils that are in production as well as prospective resources can be modeled using the OCI. The index offers the opportunity to manage the diversifying GHG footprints of disparate oils and to plan ahead to mitigate the climate impacts of tomorrow’s oils.

Thirty oils have been modeled in Phase 1 of the index, the results of which are available in this web tool and in the report Know Your Oil. These resources represent 5 percent of global oil production as of mid-2015. In the next phase, the OCI will be expanded to include 50 global oils, encompassing a greater share of current oil production. As data allow, a goal is also to model oils that fall outside the GHG emission boundaries estimated in Phase 1 and to eventually run oils that are expected to be produced in the future through the OCI model to determine the extent of their GHG emissions. Updates to GHG emission estimates for those oils that have already been modeled will be tabulated and posted as new data are provided.

Phase 1 of the Oil-Climate Index was developed with funding from the blue moon fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the ClimateWorks Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Fund, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a unique global network of policy research centers in Russia, China, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. The institution’s mission, dating back more than a century, is to advance the cause of peace through analysis and development of fresh policy ideas and direct engagement and collaboration with decisionmakers in government, business, and civil society. Working together, Carnegie’s centers bring the inestimable benefit of multiple national viewpoints to bilateral, regional, and global issues.

The Carnegie Energy and Climate Program engages global experts working on issues relating to energy technology, environmental science, and political economy to develop practical solutions for policymakers around the world. The program aims to provide the leadership and the policy framework necessary to minimize the risks that stem from global climate change and competition for resources.

Development Seed programmed the first version of the OCI web tool.

About the OCI Team

Deborah Gordon is the director of and a senior associate in the Energy and Climate Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her research focuses on the climate implications of unconventional oil and fossil fuels in the United States and around the world. Gordon founded the transportation program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, taught at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and conducted research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She began her career as a chemical engineer with Chevron and received a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley, where she developed DRIVE+, the first vehicle “feebate” policy proposal.

From 1996 to 2010, Gordon ran a consulting practice specializing in transportation, energy, and environmental policy. She has served on National Academy of Sciences committees and the Transportation Research Board’s Energy Committee. Gordon has authored and contributed chapters to numerous books. The most recent, Two Billion Cars (with Daniel Sperling), provides a road map for navigating the biggest global environmental challenges of this century—cars and oil (Oxford University Press, 2009).

Adam Brandt is an assistant professor in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford University. His research focuses on reducing the greenhouse gas impacts of energy production and consumption, with a focus on fossil energy systems. His research interests include life-cycle assessments of petroleum production and natural gas extraction. A particular interest of his is in unconventional fossil fuel resources such as oil sands, oil shale, and hydraulically fractured oil and gas resources. He also researches computational optimization of emissions mitigation technologies, such as carbon dioxide capture systems. Brandt received his doctorate from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley.

Joule Bergerson is an assistant professor in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department and the Center for Environmental Engineering Research and Education in the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary. Her primary research interests are systems-level analysis of energy system investment and management for policy and decisionmaking. The focus of Bergerson’s work is developing tools and frameworks for the assessment of prospective technology options and their policy implications from a life-cycle perspective. To date, her work has addressed fossil-fuel-derived electricity, oil sands development, carbon capture and storage, renewable energy, and energy storage technologies.

Jonathan Koomey is a research fellow at the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University. He has worked for more than two decades at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has been a visiting professor at Stanford University, Yale University, and the University of California, Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group. He was a lecturer in management at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in the spring of 2013. Koomey holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s in the history of science from Harvard University. He is the author or co-author of nine books and more than 200 articles and reports. He is also one of the leading international experts on the economics of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of information technology on resource use, and the energy use and economics of data centers. Koomey is the author of Turning Numbers Into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving (which has been translated into Chinese and Italian) and Cold Cash, Cool Climate: Science-Based Advice for Ecological Entrepreneurs. (Both books were published by Analytics Press.)

Others Involved in OCI Research and Development

David Livingston, an associate in Carnegie’s Energy and Climate Program, was involved in the OCI development at its inception and is currently researching the index’s policy applications. He previously worked at the World Trade Organization in Geneva and served as an adviser to the director of the Energy and Climate Change Branch of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Vienna. Livingston is a member of the Aspen Institute, the International Association for Energy Economics, and the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House). He was selected as a Future Energy Leader for the 2014¬–2017 term of the World Energy Council.

Eugene Tan, a junior fellow in Carnegie’s Energy and Climate Program in 2014–2015, co-developed the Oil Products Emissions Module (OPEM), which is part of the Oil-Climate Index. He graduated from Colorado College with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science with a concentration in chemistry. In fall 2015, Tan will be a graduate student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Research support was also provided at various stages of the OCI’s development by: Kourosh Vafi, Sharad Bharadwaj, Yuchi Sun, and Jacob Englander at the Environmental Assessment and Optimization Group at Stanford University; Kavan Motazedi at the University of Calgary; Jessica Abella formerly at the University of Calgary and currently at ICF International; Heather MacLean at the University of Toronto; and Zachary Schmidt at Analytics Press.

About the OCI Models

Three GHG-emission-estimation models are aggregated to create the Oil-Climate Index. Model outputs are standardized by converting them into the same functional units, or metrics, so emission results can be summed. Phase 1 of the index estimates GHG emissions based on these functional units: per barrel of crude produced, according to the energy content of all final petroleum products (in megajoules), and per dollar value of all petroleum products sold.

The Models

OPGEE (the Oil Production Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimator) was developed by Adam Brandt and his colleagues at Stanford University, with significant assistance provided by James Duffy at the California Air Resources Board. OPGEE estimates upstream GHG emissions from oil resource extraction to transport to the refinery inlet. OPGEE version 1.1 draft D is used in the OCI web tool.

To download OPGEE and view the User Guide and Technical Documentation, visit: https://pangea.stanford.edu/researchgroups/eao/research/opgee-oil-production-greenhouse-gas-emissions-estimator.

PRELIM (the Petroleum Refinery Life-Cycle Inventory Model) was developed by Joule Bergerson and her colleagues at the University of Calgary. Assistance was provided by Heather MacLean, researchers on the Life-Cycle Assessment of Oil Sands Technologies (LCAOST) project, Natural Resources Canada, Alberta Innovates, Energy and Environment Solutions, Carbon Management Canada, the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. PRELIM estimates midstream refining GHG emissions from the refinery inlet to the outlet, as well as refined petroleum product yields. PRELIM version 1.0 is used in the OCI web tool.

To download the PRELIM model and view the User Guide and Technical Documentation, visit: http://www.ucalgary.ca/lcaost/PRELIM. Note: The input data for PRELIM are available in the “Assay Inventory” worksheet of the Excel workbook.

OPEM (the Oil Products Emissions Module) was developed by Deborah Gordon, Eugene Tan, and Jonathan Koomey. OPEM estimates downstream GHG emissions (from the refinery outlet) that result from the transport and end use of all oil products from a given crude. OPEM version 1.0 is used in the OCI web tool.

Download an OPEM model workbook (.xlsx).