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    IGU urges against overly prescriptive EU methane rules

Summary

The IGU commended the EU's efforts to reduce energy sector methane emissions, but cautioned about the approach.

by: Joseph Murphy

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IGU urges against overly prescriptive EU methane rules

 The International Gas Union (IGU) has urged the EU against developing overly prescriptive regulation on energy sector methane emissions.

The European Commission (EC) published a series of legislative and regulatory proposals on December 15 aimed at decarbonising its natural gas market, including one that addresses methane emissions from the energy sector. The methane emissions proposal will set out strict rules for detecting and repairing methane leaks and introduce databases and monitoring tools to accurately quantify the emissions associated with imports of oil, gas and coal into the EU.

The proposals will be negotiated by the European Parliament and the European Council and likely undergo changes before becoming law.

The IGU said it commended the EU for taking steps to minimise energy sector methane emissions, stressing that the goal should be achieving the maximum reduction in the shortest amount of time. But it cautioned that "any regulation that can be assessed as overly prescriptive, non-functional and not risk-based, especially in such a technical industry, is poor regulation."

"We call for further dialogue to ensure an optimal outcome; achieving impactful reductions in gas sector methane emissions and maintaining a secure, well-functioning energy market," the IGU said. 

The industry association said that addressing methane emissions would "ensure natural gas today and a portfolio of decarbonised and renewable gases tomorrow maintain their position as the catalyst for and foundation of a more sustainable EU and global energy system."

The EC also proposed regulation and legislation to spur the development of low-carbon gases like hydrogen and bio-methane. The IGU said there was a lot it could support in the hydrogen and decarbonised gas market package, but stressed the need for "confidence that the necessary short- and long-term investments can be made, which will ensure ongoing security of supply."

"Total electrification is impracticable, and not all power generation can be renewable all the time," the IGU said.