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Natural Gas Companies Commit to Methane Reporting Partnership

More than 60 oil and gas companies from around the globe recently committed to a new method of reporting methane emissions that can leak from wells and pipelines under a partnership led by several international agencies.

The plan from the Climate & Clean Air Coalition’s Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP) is a “comprehensive measurement-based methane-reporting framework that will make it easier for officials, investors and the public to accurately track and compare performance across companies in ways that have not been possible to this point,” according to a press release. The OGMP is an initiative led by the CCAC, the United Nations, the European Commission and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period and a reduction is crucial to slowing global warming. It is a key component of natural gas.

The plan calls on companies to outline how they will meet their methane reduction objectives and includes not only the companies’ own operations, but also their joint ventures that are substantial contributors. The new framework “applies to the full oil and gas value chain, not only upstream production, but also midstream transportation and downstream processing and refining – areas with substantial emissions potential that are often left out of reporting today,” the release states.

A 2020 study analyzing satellite data found that methane emissions from oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin of Texas were much larger than previously estimated. Natural gas operators in Pennsylvania are emitting more than 15 times the amount of methane than they reported to the state Department of Environmental Protection, a recently updated review by the Environmental Defense Fund determined.

The 62 companies, which include BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and Equinor, represent 30 percent of the world’s oil and gas production.

The OGMP agreement comes as the World Meteorological Organization released a report on greenhouse gases that found that the amount of methane released into the atmosphere reached a new high in 2019.

The partnership aims to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry by 45 percent by 2025 and by 60 to 75 percent in 2030.

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