The UK offshore oil and gas industry has made a new public pledge to cut its methane emissions just a month ahead of the landmark United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).
OGUK, the leading representative body for the sector, has signed its commitment to the Methane Guiding Principles, developed by a coalition of industry, international institutions, non-governmental organisations, and academics.
The principles will ensure OGUK and its member companies work to continually reduce methane emissions, improve accuracy of methane emissions data, advocate for policy and regulations on methane and increase transparency in reporting.
It is the latest in a series of moves by the body that marks the UK sector as one of the most ambitious in its drive to produce sustainable oil and gas.
The announcement comes after OGUK launched an ambitious Methane Action Plan on behalf of the sector – a key action of the North Sea Transition Deal agreed with Government this year.
The plan sets out how the sector will reduce potent methane emissions 50% and stop all routine flaring by 2030. It was announced prior to the recent EU-US pledge to cut these emissions 30% by the same year.
Industry has been proactive in its drive to bring down all emissions for some time. Global independent E&P company, Neptune Energy, recently partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in September this year to test a first-of-its-kind approach, using drones to enhance methane emissions measurement on its operated Cygnus gas platform in the Southern North Sea. The findings could help establish a more accurate, science-based benchmark for the wider upstream industry to measure methane and identify mitigating actions.
Commenting on the principles, OGUK Emissions Improvement Manager Thibaut Cheret said:
“Methane has a short lifetime but has up to 80 times the impact on the atmosphere than that of CO2, so it’s essential we drastically cut down on these emissions.
“The UK industry is working proactively on this – by 2030, we will have stopped all routine flaring and by 2023, all companies will have their own ambitious methane reduction plans in place.
“At current, natural gas plays a major role in meeting global energy demand and will do for some time to come.
“Through our commitment to the principles, our Methane Action Plan, and the North Sea Transition Deal alike, our sector will clean up the production of resources that we will continue to need while we move towards a low-carbon energy mix.”