The oil and gas sector

The oil and gas sector includes a range of companies that fall into four main groups:


Also known as international oil companies (IOCs) or integrated energy companies (IECs), these are the largest integrated companies with global activities spanning the oil and gas value chain, and an economic capacity to influence industry practices and policy.

National oil companies (NOCs)

Fully or majority-owned by national governments, NOCs account for well over half of global production and an even larger share of reserves.


Non-integrated companies focusing primarily on E&P or the downstream segment of the industry.

Services companies and contractors

Companies and contractors that provide services, equipment and technical expertise.

This Roadmap is focused on core oil and gas activities including exploration and production (E&P), storage, transport and distribution, refining and processing, and sales and marketing, as shown in the figure below.

While this Roadmap recognises the need for the sector to help drive investment into renewable energy and low-carbon solutions, the scaling of these solutions is not the report’s principle focus. This Roadmap does not cover chemical, electric utility or renewable energy activities, as these have been addressed in separate Roadmaps or Atlases. We encourage the sector to build on cross-sector synergies.

There are a variety of actions in this Roadmap, and the applicability to any particular company will be dependent on a several factors such as company size, business models, operating regions and public policies.

An overview of how the oil and gas sector interacts and contributes to all 17 SDGs was outlined in the report Mapping the oil and gas industry to the Sustainable Development Goals: An Atlas (the Atlas). The Atlas was developed in 2017 by Ipieca in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Its aim was to facilitate dialogue and greater awareness of the ways in which oil and gas companies can work both independently and collaboratively with governments, communities, civil society and other partners, to help achieve the SDGs.

The SDGs are more important than ever before. This Roadmap builds on the foundations laid in the 2017 Atlas by developing tangible actions where both Ipieca and the sector can accelerate and scale SDG contribution.

Approach to building the Roadmap

The three-step process set out in WBCSD’s SDG Sector Roadmap Guidelines was used to develop this Roadmap:

  • 1. Establish current positionChevron-down

    The 17 SDGs and their 169 targets are interlinked by many crosscutting elements and the oil and gas sector has the potential to contribute to all 17 goals. This Roadmap focuses on the SDGs where the sector can have the greatest impact, within its own operations and by leveraging its role in the value chain.

    The mapping process included a review of corporate disclosures and a range of external literature sources to understand current levels of SDG impacts and identify where the sector can make the most significant contribution to the SDGs. Representatives from companies developing this Roadmap discussed the sector’s current level of impact on each of the SDGs and the sector’s potential to contribute to the realisation of the SDGs by either minimising negative or by maximising positive impacts. In addition, interviews were held with key external stakeholders to understand the key successes and challenges facing the sector and to gain perspectives on the sector’s current level of alignment with the SDGs throughout the value chain.

    This led to the identification of 10 priority SDGs (shown below) which were used to frame and develop the proposed impact opportunities and actions. Examples of current sector contribution to the priority, and other, SDGs are outlined in the SDG Atlas. SDG17 – Partnerships for the Goals, which has a strong focus on supporting developing markets – was highlighted as essential to all impact opportunities.

  • 2. Identify key impact opportunitiesChevron-down

    A series of face-to-face and virtual workshops, and deep-dive calls with subject matter experts were held to consider where and how Ipieca, and the sector as a whole, can make the greatest contributions to the achievement of the priority SDGs. This led to the identification of eight impact opportunities. For each impact opportunity, actions that Ipieca and the sector can take to optimize their contribution were developed.

    Many actions will have SDG impacts that are broader than the list of priority SDGs. Due to this complexity, this Roadmap does not attempt to map, or explore in detail, all potential indirect impacts on all SDGs beyond the SDGs identified as priority.

  • 3. Call to actionChevron-down

    The call to action outlines how sector companies and stakeholders can engage with the Roadmap and how Ipieca plans to catalyse impact through implementation of the Roadmap.

    Collaborating to accelerate action

    Achieving the SDGs by 2030 requires unprecedented collaboration among governments, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector and local communities. The interrelated nature of the SDGs highlights the importance of multi-stakeholder engagement. Collaborative efforts within and beyond the oil and gas sector can allow for synergies to be adopted and the delivery of the SDGs to be accelerated.

    With a global membership covering the full oil and gas value chain, Ipieca has the capacity to convene the sector around a wide range of issues relating to climate, nature, people and sustainability. Ipieca’s non-lobby status enables the association to develop its long-standing and trusted relationship with the UN, build powerful cross-sector partnerships, and facilitate the sector’s relationships with IGOs, academia and NGOs.

    The Roadmap is part of Ipieca’s ongoing effort to align the sector across the SDGs. Ipieca will continue to coordinate with industry bodies and form new alliances and partnerships to support the sector in realising the impact opportunities identified in this Roadmap.

Priority SDGs

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