Reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector

COP28 Venue
United Arab Emirates

The findings of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for 2022 highlight the urgent need for action on methane emissions. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, with a Global Warming Potential more than 80 times greater than that of carbon dioxide (CO2) during the 20 years after it is released into the atmosphere. Methane accounts for 0.5 degrees of the 1.1 degrees of net warming, and targeted actions to reduce methane emissions this decade are essential to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The oil and gas sector is the second largest source of methane emissions globally and presents the best low-cost mitigation potential for methane emissions with technically feasible solutions. The report “The Imperative of Cutting Methane from Fossil Fuels” by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UNEP-convened Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) finds the fossil fuel sector has a critical role to play in cutting methane emissions to a level consistent with 1.5°C scenario. Reductions in methane emissions from fossil fuel operations will likely need to provide half of the reduction in total methane emissions from human activities needed by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5 °C. Reducing methane leakages, venting, and flaring could reduce 60-80 per cent of methane emissions in this sector (UNEP/CCAC Global Methane Assessment). Upstream oil and gas operations lead to more than three-quarters of total methane emissions, with the downstream segment accounting for the remaining share (IEA, 2023).

Emissions reduction and country-specific mitigation plans require the development and implementation of effective national policies and regulatory tools, which are often missing and/or countries interested in taking action need support identifying and designing.

The CCAC provides support to governments to prioritise methane and black carbon reductions from the fossil fuel sector. The CCAC has collaborated with Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria and Colombia to develop and adopt the necessary regulatory and legislative frameworks to estimate and build their mitigation capacity in efforts to reduce methane emissions and to meet their commitments to the Global Methane Pledge.

Iraq is in the process of developing a national methane emissions inventory, a methane mitigation assessment, and a legislative framework for the oil and gas sector to help meet its mitigation goals for the sector. Iraq is also working closely with UNEP, CCAC and implementing partners, the Clean Air Task Force (CATF), in collaboration with the International Energy Agency (IEA), Carbon Limits and the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) to expand the ambition to reduce methane emissions in its next NDC update.

This side event is organized by the Republic of Iraq in coordination with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) with the objectives to:

  • Bring together experts, policymakers, and interested parties to discuss strategies, challenges, and opportunities for reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector
  • Highlight the importance of policies and regulations to drive down emissions.
  • Discuss the challenges and barriers to enforcing regulation and the support required.
  • Share the tools and resources that are available to decision-maker