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    Gas-Related Methane Emission at 44mn mt/yr: IEA


Although still a small proportion of the total, much needs to be done to limit methane emissions.

by: Dalga Khatinoglu

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Gas-Related Methane Emission at 44mn mt/yr: IEA

About 79mn metric tons of methane emissions came from oil and gas operations in 2018, split in roughly equal parts between the two, the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced July 16. The Middle East, Russian and central Asian oil and gas sectors accounted for 47%. 

Total methane emissions from all sources reached 570mn mt/yr, around two-and-half times more than pre-industrial levels.

Upstream gas projects accounted for 37% of the oil and gas sector's emissions and downstream gas for 19%. It means that over 44mn mt methane emissions came from gas projects in the last year.

About 60% of methane emissions came from human activities; fossil fuels share 20% of the total.

Although methane has much shorter atmospheric lifetime than CO2 (around 12 years compared with centuries for CO2) as well as low quantity (against 33.1bn mt/yr energy-related CO2 emissions), it has a very big impact. “One ton of methane can considered to be equivalent to 84-87 mt of CO2 when considering its impact over a 20-year timeframe and 28-36 mt of CO2 if looking at its impact over 100 years,” IEA said.

IEA says taking both CO2 and methane emissions into account, coal-to-gas switching can halve emissions on average producing electricity and cut them by a third providing heat.