​Global natural gas producers sign joint commitment on methane reduction

Eight global natural gas producers have joined together in a bid to ensure the fuel plays a key role in the world’s energy future with a set of commitments on methane emissions reduction.

The “guiding principles” are receiving kudos from UN Environment and the International Energy Agency as an “excellent framework” for meeting growing energy demand along with environmental goals.

Of the eight companies, all but Wintershall are active in Canada; five are active in Alberta (BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Total and Repsol), while two (Statoil and Eni) are active in offshore projects on the East Coast.

“A concerted industry response is needed to increase focus on the reduction of methane emissions,” the group’s guiding principles document states. “Therefore, signatories will encourage other companies to apply the principles.”

The commitments include incorporating management of methane emissions in maintenance plans and the design and construction of new projects, financial and operational support for development and deployment of new technologies and approaches for monitoring and reduction, improve the accuracy of methane emissions data, advocating on policy and regulations, and increasing transparency on methane emissions “progress and challenges.”

“The opportunity is considerable – implementing all of the cost-effective methane abatement measures worldwide would have the same effect on long-term climate change as closing all existing coal-fired power plants in China,” the IEA’s Tim Gould said in a statement.

“The commitment by companies to the Guiding Principles is a very important step; we look forward to seeing the results of their implementation and wider application.”

Under federal legislation, which will be introduced in 2020, the provinces will be required to reduce methane emissions by 45 per cent from 2014 levels by 2025—the same as Alberta’s target under its Climate Leadership Plan.

A multi-stakeholder group led by Alberta Energy is putting together recommendations on the regulatory framework to get there. This work is expected to be complete in early December, according to the Daily Oil Bulletin.

Image: Representatives from BP, Statoil, Eni, Shell, ExxonMobil, Total, Repsol and Wintershall sign the joint document with support from OGCI, United Nations Environment, IEA, International Gas Union, Sustainable Gas Institute, Energy Resource Institute, University of Texas-Austin, Rocky Mountain Institute and Environmental Defence Fund.