Oil and gas methane

The hottest year on record. Rising seas. Old diseases spreading to new parts of the world. Every continent is feeling the impact of climate change, intensifying calls for urgent action.

For our response to be effective, we must have short- and long-term greenhouse gas reduction strategies.

MethaneSAT

“Reducing methane emissions is critical, not just on a national scale, but on a global scale  where Europe is uniquely positioned to lead.”

Reduce temperature now

Pentland Hills drought

The amount of methane in the atmosphere has tripled in the last century. Methane pollution from human activity accounts for at least 25% of today’s global warming. According to the IPCC, “deep reductions” in non-CO2 emissions like methane are critical. If the world is to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, methane emissions must rapidly decline by 2030.

Reducing methane reduces global temperatures. Because methane only lasts in the atmosphere for around a decade, any reductions will have a near-immediate impact in slowing down warming.

Oil and gas methane emissions present a particularly important opportunity, as it offers the most immediate and lowest-cost options to reduce this potent greenhouse gas. The International Energy Agency estimates the industry could reduce its global emissions by 75% and that up to 40% of those reductions can be realized at zero net cost.

Europe is the Key to Reducing Methane

As the world’s largest natural gas importer, Europe plays a significant role in driving methane emissions globally. Europe sources much of its gas from Russia, Norway and Algeria and also imports gas from the United States, Qatar and Nigeria. Most of the methane emissions associated with such imports occur before the gas reaches the EU. The ‘methane footprint’ in producer countries is estimated to be between three and eight times the emissions from the domestic EU gas supply chain.

The new EU Methane Strategy starts to unlock Europe’s methane mitigation potential. The European Union has an opportunity to achieve even more by directly addressing emissions associated with EU gas imports.

Time to act

There are currently no legal requirements ensuring that gas consumed in the EU is produced responsibly. But policy makers in Brussels are exploring a variety of legislative measures to achieve the objectives outlined in the EU Methane Strategy.

This includes important safeguards for sustainable production practices such as regular leak detection and repair, and restrictions on venting and flaring. A minimum emissions standard applied to all gas consumed in Europe could complement these measures and ensure significant reductions in methane emissions globally.

To achieve the Paris Agreement temperature goal, the European Commission's Fit-for-55 Package must tackle emissions in the energy system today, while creating the framework for Europe’s sustainable future. Reform of the EU gas package represents the next big opportunity for policy makers to demonstrate that climate will be a cornerstone of EU energy policy.

Methane Emissions

Our Approach

// Break new scientific ground through studies with European-based research organisations and companies to improve measures to deal with the methane challenge.

// Activate and partner with leading financial institutions to underscore the business imperative for methane action.

// Embed methane standards in the climate agendas of key European countries in coordination with local partners.

// Collaborate with forward-thinking, European-based oil and gas majors to pursue solutions that make sound methane management the new leading practice.

Oil rig

Additional resources