The European Union, the US and 11 countries have launched a pathway to catalyse methane emissions reductions in the oil and gas industry, with countries and supporting organisations committing $59 million (£48m) in support of the Global Methane Pledge (GMP) Energy Pathway.
Argentina, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway and Oman have joined the EU and the US as inaugural members of the Global Methane Pledge Energy Pathway.
The GMP was launched by more than 100 countries at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow last November to reduce anthropogenic methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030, compared to 2020 levels.
The funds will be used to improve methane measurements in the oil and gas sector, identify priority areas for methane mitigation, develop technical assessments for project development, strengthen regulator and operator capacity, support policy development and enforcement and other essential activities to achieve reductions in methane emissions.
With the recent additions of Egypt, Kosovo, Moldova, Oman, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and Uzbekistan, 120 countries have now endorsed the Pledge, representing half of global methane emissions and nearly three-quarters of the global economy.
The oil and gas sector contributes roughly one-quarter of all anthropogenic methane emissions due to flaring, venting and leaking of methane, which is the principal component of natural gas.
Globally, more than 250 billion cubic meters of natural gas was flared, vented or leaked in 2021—exceeding the annual output of the world’s third-largest gas producer.
A joint statement released by the EU and the US on the Pledge states: “Reducing flaring and methane emissions in the oil and gas sector is immediately cost-effective and has the triple benefit of acting on climate change, improving health outcomes and enhancing global gas supply at existing levels of production—simply by capturing gas that would otherwise be wasted due to flaring or methane emissions.”
The GMP Energy Pathway aims to encourage all nations to capture the maximum potential of methane mitigation in the oil and gas sector and eliminate routine flaring as soon as possible and no later than 2030.
Participating countries commit to support these efforts by providing new technical and financial resources and/or by enhancing domestic project and policy action.
In addition, the UNEP International Methane Emissions Observatory will work with partners to launch the first phase of an alert and response system for satellite-detected methane emissions by COP27, with the EU so far committing €17 million (£14.6m) to support the work.