Nov 24, 2020 - Energy & Environment

The oil sector's new methane pledge

Illustration of barrels of oil

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Dozens of oil-and-gas companies — including the big ones like BP, Shell and Total — are pledging to provide more detailed information about their methane emissions.

Why it matters: Methane is a very strong planet-warming gas and atmospheric concentrations keep rising, as new World Meteorological Organization data shows. Releases or leaks from oil-and-gas well sites, pipeline and other infrastructure are a key source.

Driving the news: The 6-year-old Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP) yesterday announced its "2.0" reporting framework as well as new targets and expanded membership.

  • A summary notes that the framework now applies to the "full oil and gas value chain."
  • That means not only production sites, "but also midstream transportation and downstream processing and refining — areas with substantial emissions potential that are often left out of reporting today."
  • They also announced a new target of seeing a 45% cut in industry methane emissions by 2025 and 60% to 75% reduction by 2030.

Where it stands: The group says membership now represents 30% of worldwide oil-and-gas production — although U.S. giants ExxonMobil and Chevron are not involved, nor are most state-owned oil companies, Reuters notes.

  • OGMP is a collaboration between the UN, the European Commission and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Of note: Also via Reuters, the group "says it differs from other initiatives in that it requires members to report methane emissions at an asset level, rather than across the whole company, and in that it covers facilities in joint ventures, even if the operator of such sites has not subscribed to OGMP."

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