Crude oil majors commit to reduce methane emissions by a fifth

Source: ICIS News

2018/09/24

LONDON (ICIS)--Global crude oil majors have committed to reduce methane emissions by one fifth by 2025, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) said on Monday.

The industry association said its members had committed to reduce the collective average methane intensity at oil and gas operations to below 0.25%. It stood at 0.32% in 2017.

Moreover, the signatories said they shared “the ambition” to achieve a cut in methane intensity to 0.20%.

The methane intensity refers to the methane that gets lost in the atmosphere when producing oil and gas, as a percentage of the gas sold.

“Achieving the agreed intensity target of 0.25% by the end of 2025 would reduce collective emissions by 350,000 tonnes/year of methane, compared to the baseline of 0.32% in 2017.”

Methane, the main constituent of natural gas, is a toxic chemical of which emissions have sharply increased since 2006, according to the US’ NASA.

The agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, part of the California Institute of Technology, has said the main sources for the sharp increase in methane emissions are, on one hand, the oil and gas industry and, on the other, microbial production in wet tropical environments like marshes and rice paddies.

“But when these estimates were added to estimates of other sources, the sum was considerably more than the observed increase. In fact, each new estimate was large enough to explain the whole increase by itself,” it said in a report published in January.

Among others, OGCI’s members include crude oil majors like BP, Chevron, CNPC, Eni, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Occidental, Pemex, Petrobras, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Shell and Total.

In the US, the current administration is trying to lower the requirements for oil and gas players on their methane emissions reporting.

However, a court in August mandated that the country's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should enforce methane emissions regulations created during former president Barack Obama’s administration.

In related news, Total, Shell, BP and Equinor said on Monday they have set up a joint approach for suppliers in order to assess their human rights record, among others elements.

"As members of the UN Global Compact, BP, Equinor, Shell and Total believe this initiative supports the objectives of Sustainable Development Goal 8, which is to 'promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all'," said the four companies.

"The initiative does not include collaboration on selection of suppliers, which continues to remain the independent decision of each participant."