Major players in the oil and gas industry have agreed to report methane emissions with a new, much higher level of transparency.
Methane released directly into the atmosphere is a highly potent greenhouse gas, with more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
Actions to cut methane emissions can yield a near-term reduction in the rate of warming, complementing efforts to decarbonise the world’s energy and transport systems while also delivering air quality benefits.
The Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP) is a Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) initiative led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the European Commission (EC), and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
Already 62 companies with assets on five continents representing 30 per cent of the world’s oil and gas production, have joined the partnership.
The new OGMP 2.0 framework is the new gold standard reporting framework that will improve the reporting accuracy and transparency of anthropogenic methane emissions in the oil and gas sector.
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UNEP, said that to win the race to net-zero emissions, everyone needs to come on board.
“We need ambitious action from the oil and gas industry,” said Andersen.
“UNEP is committed to supporting efforts that reduce methane emissions, and we recognise the leadership of companies that have joined such an ambitious methane reporting framework.”
Kadri Simson, EU Energy Commissioner, said a clear commitment to measure and monitor emissions is an important first step for significantly reducing them.
“[This week’s] signature is the first deliverable under the Commission’s recent methane strategy. There are many more steps to take to cut emissions along the entire value chain and I hope to work closely with all – European and international – partners to reach this goal.”
Oil and Gas Methane Partnership 2.0
At the core of the effort 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.
As stipulated in the EU methane strategy, the European Commission is planning to elaborate a legislative proposal on compulsory measurement, reporting, and verification for all energy-related methane emissions, building on the OGMP 2.0 framework.
Crucially, the OGMP 2.0 includes not only a company’s own operations, but also the many joint ventures responsible for a substantial share of their production.
The OGMP 2.0 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 goal is to enable the oil and gas industry to realise deep reductions in methane emissions over the next decade in a way that is transparent to civil society and governments.
In order to support the realisation of global climate targets, OGMP 2.0 aims to deliver a 45 per cent reduction in the industry’s methane emissions by 2025, and a 60-75 per cent reduction by 2030.
ENI is an OMGP company member. Claudio Descalzi, Chief Executive Officer of ENI, said that reducing methane emissions is a crucial effort in the industry’s decarbonisation pathway.
“As a factor on which we can have an immediate and concrete positive impact, OGMP 2.0 offers an internationally recognised blueprint to companies across our industry willing to make improvements in their emission reductions in all phases of the value chain,” Mr Descalzi said.
“We look forward to continue working with all partners involved, as only through collaboration with international organisations, civil society and governments can we deliver on our common goals.”
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), roughly three-quarters of methane emissions could be reduced with the technology that exists today, and close to half at zero net cost.
Reducing methane emissions from the energy sector by 90 per cent would shave two-tenths of a degree Celsius from the forecasted rise in the planet’s average temperature by 2050.
Reducing fossil methane emissions by 75 per cent can prevent up to 6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually – almost 10 per cent of the planet’s 2019 greenhouse gas emissions, including land-use change.
New observatory in the works
UNEP and the European Commission are also finalising plans to set up an independent International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO).
IMEO will aggregate and analyse multiple methane emissions data streams, including data reported by OGMP member companies, to accelerate reductions in methane emissions globally.
By assisting industry and governments globally in addressing uncertainty related to reported emissions, the Observatory will improve the consistency and credibility of methane emissions data and accelerate mitigation actions.
About the OGMP
The OGMP, launched at the UN Climate Summit in 2014, was created by the CCAC as a voluntary initiative to help companies reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector.
Managed by UNEP, OGMP is the only multi-stakeholder partnership working on methane emissions reporting and provides a protocol to help companies systematically manage their methane emissions from oil and gas operations and offers a credible platform to help member companies demonstrate actual reductions to industry stakeholders.