Methane emissions from the global oil and gas industry fell by an estimated 10% in 2020 as producers slashed output in response to the Covid-19 crisis, the International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed.
The organisation warned that these emissions could rebound strongly without greater action by companies, policy makers and regulators to transition to ‘greener’ fuel sources.
Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and makes a major contribution to global warming.
According to the IEA’s 2021 update oil and gas operations worldwide emitted more than 70 million tonnes of methane into the atmosphere last year. This is broadly equivalent to the total energy-related CO2 emissions from the entire European Union.
The new IEA analysis indicates that a large part of the drop in methane emissions in 2020 occurred not because companies were taking more care to avoid methane leaks from their operations, but simply because they were producing less oil and gas. As such, there is clearly a risk that this downward trend will be reversed by an increase in production to fuel a rebound in global economic activity.
“The immediate task...
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