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The commitments of seven oil and gas companies to further control methane emissions have been listed on the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) portal to highlight corporate efforts to support government action to combat climate change.

The companies are part of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s (CCAC) Oil & Gas Methane Partnership, which aims to create a global standard to control methane emissions in oil and gas systems.

The companies that have pledged to reduce methane emissions in their operations include: BG Group, ENI, PEMEX, PTT, Southwestern Energy, Statoil and Total.

Join the Methane Initiative 

The Partnership is working towards getting more companies to join the initiative ahead of and during the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December (COP 21), where governments will agree a new, universal climate change agreement.

Methane is a powerful short lived climate pollutant (SLCP). Gram for gram, it is at least 84 times more potent than CO2 in the atmosphere over a 20-year time horizon, and the oil and gas industry is the largest man-made emitter of methane after agriculture. On average about 3% of produced gas escapes as methane emissions worldwide – in addition to gas which is routinely flared.

At the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit in September, 2014, the CCAC’s Oil & Gas Methane Partnership was presented as a key initiative to deliver realistic and ambitious reductions in greenhouse gases. As part of the Lima Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) the initiative aims to underpin a sustainable role for gas by helping companies demonstrate a systematic yet pragmatic approach to identifying and eliminating methane emissions.

IEA and Investors Call for More Methane Reduction

According to the International Energy Agency’s 2015 special report, Energy and Climate Change, “reducing methane emissions in oil and gas production” is one of five priority climate policies for the energy sector. Natural gas is often promoted as being “cleaner than coal”, but this assertion will only be widely accepted if methane emissions are managed.

Three international investor groups representing over $20 trillion in assets have also issued a joint statement calling on companies to join the CCAC Oil & Gas Methane Partnership.

Companies joining the partnership start by signing an MoU with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that voluntarily commits them to:

  • Survey for nine “core” sources that account for much of the methane emissions in typical upstream oil and gas operations (see box below);
  • Evaluate existing cost-effective technology options to address sources found during the surveys; and
  • Report progress on surveys, project evaluations and mitigation projects according to an agreed template in a transparent manner that demonstrates results.

Partner companies decide the scale of their participation. There is no minimum share of assets for participation, but companies are expected to expand this share over time. The emphasis is on companies learning by doing and achieving continuous improvement over time.

The nine “core” methane emission sources

1)      Natural gas driven pneumatic controls and pumps;

2)      Fugitive equipment and process leaks;

3)      Centrifugal compressors with “wet” (oil) seals;

4)      Reciprocating compressors rod seal/packing vents;

5)      Glycol dehydrators;

6)      Hydrocarbon liquid storage tanks;

7)      Well venting for liquids unloading;

8)      Well venting/flaring during well completion for hydraulically fractured wells;

9)      Casinghead gas venting

Parternship Benefits

The seven oil and gas companies believe that joining the CCAC Oil & Gas Methane Partnership provides many benefits including:

  • The credibility of a public-private partnership in recognising their past and present efforts to reduce methane emissions;
  • Increased product recoverability leading to increased gas sales volume and revenue;
  • Operational and safety benefits from improved equipment;
  • Harmonisation with other reporting and disclosure standards;
  • Best practice sharing and support; and
  • Development of a reliable industry data set to underpin the climate credentials and growth of natural gas.

 The CCAC supports each participating company’s efforts with technical assistance and by encouraging the development of policies and practices that promote and support oil and gas methane emission reduction activities within CCAC member countries and beyond.

 Companies announcing their participation at or before the Paris COP will not only highlight their leadership on the world stage but also provide a tangible example of their commitment to be part of the climate solution.

Key technical partners include the Environmental Defense Fund, the U.S. EPA’s Natural Gas Star program, the Global Methane Initiative and the World Bank’s Global Gas Flaring Reduction Initiative. The Partnership benefits from the political support of key CCAC governments, including France, Nigeria, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.

For further information and queries, please contact:

Philip Swanson, Administrator, CCAC Oil & Gas Methane Partnership: +33 1 44 37 76 35, Philip.Swanson.Affiliate@unep.org

Tiy Chung, CCAC Communications Officer: +33 6 86 30 71 28, tiy.chung@unep.org,

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