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    Global E&P Welcomes EU Methane Strategy


The International Oil and Gas Producers Association is keen to help develop cost-effective and efficient regulation of leaks.

by: William Powell

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Global E&P Welcomes EU Methane Strategy

The International Oil & Gas Producers Association (IOGP) guardedly welcomed October 14 the European Union's Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions published that day. It said it supported "the development of cost-effective and efficient regulation to address methane emissions across all involved sectors of the economy."

The European Commission (EC) said in its factsheet that: "Reducing worldwide methane emissions by 50% over the next 30 years could mitigate global temperature change by 0.18 °C by 2050. It is an important building block for the Paris Agreement."

In Europe, the energy sector accounts for almost a fifth (19%) of the emissions; agriculture for just over a half and waste for just over a quarter (26%), according to the factsheet.

IOGP's regional director for Europe Francois-Regis Mouton said oil and gas producers had been "an early mover on methane mitigation; a number of voluntary, large-scale industry initiatives are delivering measurable results. But to succeed across the economy we need the participation of the full gas value chain and that of all other emitting sectors. We look forward to sharing the experience we have gathered over the years to help reduce methane emissions."

It is in producers' commercial interests to limit methane leaks, but some remediation or marketing measures cost more than the lost gas. There is also no fixed approach to monitoring the leaks, a state of affairs three industry groups including major oil and gas producers set up a joint enterprise to address October 13.

IOGP said the policy framework to be developed over the coming years needs to take into account the fact that technology to accurately measure methane is – despite some recent progress – in development stage and that the available data is sometimes inconsistent across regions. 

Mouton said there was no disagreement on the need to prioritise data collection, monitoring, reporting and verification in the short term. He added: "Using next year's policy agenda to progress in that area across all relevant sectors will also help ensure consistency with the rest of Green Deal-related initiatives." He said the upstream was already engaged in a number of initiatives such as the Methane Guiding Principles. 

Last year, IOGP, Marcogaz and pipeline and LNG terminal operators' group Gas Infrastructure Europe released a common set of Guidelines to help companies across the gas value chain set methane emission targets. All this work forms an integral part of our industry's efforts to minimise the environmental footprint of the energy it supplies to citizens and businesses in Europe and across the world.

As well as EU-wide initiatives, some countries have imposed their own regulations to limit emissions, with the UK for example linking the award of licences with bidders' success in reducing offshore emissions.