Scientific studies to improve understanding of global oil and gas methane emissions

by CCAC secretariat - 8 December, 2015
Oil and gas companies to work with the CCAC and Environment Defense Fund to survey global methane emissions

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition - Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (CCAC-OGMP) announces a collaboration among three oil and gas producers and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to work towards a series of scientific studies to improve the understanding of global oil and gas methane emissions. The three initial oil and gas partners in the collaborative are BG Group, ENI, and Total, who are members of OGMP and the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI).

The proposed studies would be designed to increase understanding of the global sources and magnitude of methane emissions from oil and gas supply chains. This research will build on a multi-year research effort in the U.S. that has helped fill gaps in U.S. methane emissions data and also highlighted opportunities for reductions.

We need better data to understand the true size of the oil and gas methane problem to better inform ongoing industry initiatives and national actions to reduce this damaging climate pollutant.
Fred Krupp

“IPCC data shows methane emissions are responsible for 25% of the warming our planet is experiencing today, and the global oil and gas industry is the largest industrial source of it.” Said Fred Krupp, EDF President. “We need better data to understand the true size of the oil and gas methane problem to better inform ongoing industry initiatives and national actions to reduce this damaging climate pollutant"

This proposed research effort will be conducted by independent scientists with findings vetted through a rigorous, third-party, peer-reviewed process. Measurement studies would also leverage field surveys taking place under the companies' CCAC-OGMP commitments where possible. The improved data would be shared publicly to benefit a wide range of stakeholders including local communities, national governments, scientists, academia and companies who rely on the best available emissions data to make well-informed decisions and prioritize areas for action.

Karen Florini, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change, US State Department said “We know about international data limits so we applaud the new data generation effort announced here tonight.”

Helge Lund, Chief Executive of BG Group said the practical initiatives undertaken by the Oil & Gas Methane Partnership, had demonstrated how the oil and gas industry will play a critical role in the solution to climate change. 

“The world is facing a new energy reality – an increasing demand for energy, with a need for lower emissions. Natural gas will play a critical role in addressing this challenge. It is much more climate friendly than coal, particularly when burned to generate power. But we also know that before the gas reaches the burner tip, some methane can be released and, as an industry, we can address this. We need to ensure that we do all we can to maximise the climate benefit that natural gas can deliver.” 

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and there is growing recognition within the oil and gas industry that reducing methane emissions is an important part of addressing climate change. Many leading oil and gas companies are already taking actions to manage methane emissions, including through efforts as part of the CCAC-OGMP. The 2015 IEA Bridging the Gap report identified reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector as one of five key opportunities to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Widespread collaboration across the industry and with a variety of non-sector partners will be necessary to support the research, so whilst this effort is initiated by the CCAC-OGMP, it is open to all interested oil and gas companies and other partners globally, and will seek to create synergies with existing efforts to leverage joint knowledge in this area and to apply lessons learned.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme.

Tiy Chung, CCAC Communications Officer: Tiy.Chung [at],