The International Gas Union’s Climate Strategy

What the IGU reveals about the industry's global playbook to lock in fossil gas

December 2022

See coverage including Le Monde, National Observer, Sydney Morning Herald, El Confidencial, and

This analysis considers a collection of strategy documents detailing the International Gas Union's (IGU) communications, advocacy, and outreach playbooks.

IGU describes itself as “the spokesperson for the gas industry worldwide”. It has 150+ members including Shell, TotalEnergies, Sempra Energy, and ExxonMobil amongst others, claiming to represent over 90% of the global gas market.

This analysis provides unique and highly significant insights into how the fossil gas industry has sought to defend and enhance its interests against increasing concern about climate change and the energy transition from the public, politicians, and international institutions.

The documents analyzed for this report span from 2017/2018 to 2021, and were available on IGU's website between September 2021 and April 2022. The documents have since been removed from the website.

  • In the strategy documents, IGU states that the debate on climate change could be “potentially existential for the global natural gas value chain” and “Potential regulatory changes combined with a restriction of liquidity to the sector could have highly damaging effects to the industry.”
  • Analysis of IGU’s strategy documents show the organization has developed a global playbook of regionally specific communication strategies to promote fossil gas based on the “environmental-consciousness” of the market.
  • In Europe, this appears to include a focus on the “greening of gas”, which presents fossil gas as part of a broader category of ‘gases’, including “low-carbon” and “decarbonized” gases. For Africa, parts of Asia, and South America, IGU’s proposed communications strategies focus on the use of UN Sustainable Development Goals to “broaden the terms of the energy and climate debate”, emphasizing the issues of energy poverty and clean air.
  • IGU’s strategy documents also set out the organization’s “advocacy” strategy, showing a targeting of key global institutions, including the UN, the G20, World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund, and several regional development banks. IGU described engaging with these entities as “critically important, as they can be influential in the fuel choice that countries make.”
  • Further documents show that IGU has sought to develop relationships with key partners in the media (including the Financial Times and Bloomberg), environmental organizations (including Environmental Defense Fund and Rocky Mountain Institute) and think tanks and consultancies (including Boston Consulting Group and Oxford Institute for Energy Studies). IGU’s aim for its outreach is to “raise IGU’s credibility and leadership amongst influential organizations to help shape energy dialogues and debates,” while its use of the media looks to “promote positive sentiment toward, and broader definition of, gas”

16.12.2022 - This report was amended to account for the fact that Eurogas is no longer a member of IGU.

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This new analysis by InfluenceMap shows the fossil gas industry is knowingly pushing the world to disaster through continued long-term promotion of its dangerous products. Equally disturbing, these documents show how the industry has established partnerships with news companies, environmental organizations, and even universities in order to normalize the continued production and use of fossil fuels. After decades of delay, denial, and obfuscation from the fossil gas industry, it is time for accountability.

Ben Franta, Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Climate Litigation Lab at the University of Oxford