Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Marathon Oil
Thank you, Mike. As I've stated before, strong ESG performance is foundational to our framework for success and our long-term value proposition in the marketplace. We believe that we have a clear and much-needed role to play in the longer term energy landscape. Oil and gas are essential to a thoughtful and orderly transition to a lower carbon future and to protect the standard of living we have all come to enjoy and to which others around the world strive to attain.
Access to responsible, reliable and affordable energy is the great social equalizer and is the foundation upon which the world's modern economy is built. We are proud to play our role in supporting U.S. energy security, which protects the U.S. consumer and serves as a powerful tool of foreign policy providing options for both the U.S. and our allies. We must take on the dual challenge of meeting the world's growing energy needs, while also prioritizing all elements of our ESG performance, including efforts to address climate change.
This is not an either/or proposition and failure on either front is not acceptable. However, our approach must be pragmatic and grounded in the free market, innovation and an all of the above energy approach. We are unfortunately experiencing first-hand the impacts of misguided energy policy and the dramatic role it can play on energy affordability as well as geopolitical stability.
Slide 16 provides a comprehensive progress report across each of the elements of ESG. When viewed in totality, the progress our company has made is not only compelling, but is a point of pride for our entire organization. For us, it always starts with safety. I'm therefore, especially proud that we delivered our second best safety performance in our company's history in 2021 as measured by total recordable incident rate for employees and contractors.
We realized significant progress against our core environmental objectives, achieving our GHG intensity reduction target of at least 30% relative to our 2019 baseline and improving our total company gas capture to 98.8% for the full year. During the third and fourth quarters of 2021, we achieved a gas capture of approximately 99%, and we expect to perform at or above this level in 2022 and beyond.
As we previously announced, we've also recently introduced new quantitative goals for the near, medium and the long-term horizon across our core environmental focus areas; GHG intensity, methane intensity and gas capture. These goals complement our existing 2025 GHG intensity reduction objective of 50% versus our 2019 baseline. They represent a pragmatic roadmap to realizing significant improvement in our environmental performance through the end of this decade, driving significant GHG intensity reductions, consistent with the trajectory called for by the Paris Climate Agreement.
Our environmental objectives will promote transparency and accountability, while enhancing the internal alignment and innovation that will be necessary to deliver such strong performance. Importantly, our 2030 GHG and methane intensity objectives represent industry-leading improvement and will contribute to absolute performance that is competitive with the very best oil and gas producers globally.
Moving from environmental to our social accomplishments. We invested thoughtfully and strategically in our local areas of operations to build healthier, safer and stronger communities in alignment with core UN sustainable development objectives. And we continue to promote equality, diversity and inclusion as core values, which has helped contribute to a notable increase in the representation of both females and people of color within our workforce over the last five years.
On governance, we believe we have taken a leadership role in aligning executive compensation with the most important drivers of shareholder value. I've covered the comprehensive changes we made for the 2021 compensation cycle previously, including quantum reductions and redesign short-term and long-term incentive programs. So I won't revisit all of those details today. However, I will remind everyone that we've eliminated production metrics from all scorecards and have included unique free cash flow performance stock units and our executive long-term incentive design. Finally, we have also taken a leadership role in ensuring strong board of directors oversight, refreshment, independence and diversity, highlighted by the addition of two new directors and the appointment of a new lead director in 2021.
Before we move to our question and answer session, I want to wrap up with the compelling investment case for Marathon Oil. We fully recognize that investors have options. So why MRO? First, we have instituted a transparent capital framework that uniquely prioritizes our shareholders as the first call on cash flow generation. Our shareholder-friendly framework is complemented by a track record of delivery. And it is my expectation that we will lead our peer space in returning capital to shareholders in 2022.
Second, we are committed to capital discipline. If commodity prices continue to outperform, we won't introduce production growth capital into our budget. We will remain focused on free cash flow generation and return of capital. When it comes to growth, our focus is not on growing production. It's on growing the per share metrics that matter most, and $1 billion of buybacks in just the last four and a half months, driving 8% underlying per share growth is a strong statement of our commitment.
Third, due to our balanced production mix, low corporate free cash flow breakeven, attractive hedge book and advantaged U.S. Federal cash income tax position, our company retains differentiated upside leverage to commodity outperformance, and we will protect this upside for our investors. And finally, we believe the peer-leading financial and operating results we are delivering today are sustainable, underpinned by over a decade of high quality, high return inventory by our five and 10-year benchmark maintenance scenario and by our commitment to comprehensive longer term ESG excellence.
With that, we can open up the line for Q&A.