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Urgent action needed on methane emissions
An enhanced 2020 work programme aimed at bearing down on fugitive methane emissions in the oil and gas sector was agreed in January by the signatories to the Methane Guiding Principles, and by supporting organisations including the EI.
There is growing pressure for operators to tackle methane emissions during production and transportation of natural gas as part of the response to the climate emergency. Methane is a short-lived but potent greenhouse gas. One tonne is equivalent to 28-36 tonnes of CO2 if looked at over 100 years.
The Methane Guiding Principles were drawn up in 2017 and are now backed by more than twenty oil and gas company signatories and fifteen non-industry supporting organisations.
The five Principles require participants to work individually and collaboratively to continually reduce methane emissions; advance strong performance across the gas supply chain; improve accuracy of methane emissions data; advocate sound policy and regulations on methane emissions; and increase transparency.
The EI is a supporting organisation of the initiative and will be pursuing new opportunities during 2020 to improve technical understanding and raise awareness. The issue was firmly on the agenda at IP Week 2020, at which delegates heard from speakers including Ben Ratner of the Environmental Defense Fund and Colette Cohen OBE FEI of The Oil & Gas Technology Centre. We will also complete a review of upstream technical needs to identify future EI work and host our first methane masterclass for oil and gas professionals.
A survey conducted by the EI in 2017 found more than four in five professionals working in oil and gas around the world was unaware of the extent of the commercially-viable possibilities to tackle the problem.