Emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from oil and gas infrastructure could be stamped out within the next 10 years, industry experts said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the Reuters IMPACT climate conference in London, they noted that technology to detect leakages from oil and gas had been ramping up in the last five years, making mitigation feasible.
“Those technologies when deployed … can fix the methane emissions very quickly,” said Julien Perez, vice-president of strategy and policy at the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, a consortium of CEOs from a dozen large oil and gas companies.
Last year, more than 100 countries pledged to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Methane is about 80% more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide during a 20-year timeframe.
“The launch of the Global Methane Pledge will create momentum,” Perez said. “Money will flow.”
Currently, oil and gas extraction, processing and distribution is responsible for 23% of global methane emissions, according to a 2021 assessment by the World Meteorological Organization. Landfills account for about 20% of emissions, and roughly one-third come from the agricultural sector.
Methane from oil and gas “is one part of (global greenhouse gas emissions) that can be solved this decade,” said Georges Tijbosch, CEO of MIQ, a methane emissions certification standard.
Scientists and industry are now using sensors attached to aircraft and satellites to detect methane leaks. This allows oil and gas companies to quickly address the potent plumes, said Deepak Anand, chief revenue officer at GHGSat, a global emissions monitoring company.
“Methane is a fuel. It can be captured and used,” he said. “What we try to do is help the oil and gas industry find treasure.”
Recently, GHGSat measured the methane leaking from the damaged Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. They found the amount of emissions was equivalent to those from 630,000 pounds of coal burning every hour.
“If we’re going to maintain gas a transition fuel … we have to focus on how we can reduce the footprint of gas in the energy system, particularly when it comes to methane,” said Perez.