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COP 26: US unveils methane reduction from oil and gas roadmap

COP26

During COP 26, the major climate summit in Glasgow, the US government unveiled a roadmap to reduce methane emissions significantly from the oil and gas industry. Methane is the second-largest cause of climate change, after carbon dioxide, and it is one of the most harmful emissions among those that cause the greenhouse effect.

Firstly, the US has already targeted reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% by 2030. However, it is struggling with a deeply divided Congress that makes passing new legislation very difficult.

Consequently, the US and the European Union are seeking to make strong leadership in a new international pact to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030. They had already secured participation from over 100 countries.

Moreover, the proposal’s heart is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiative that will require oil and gas companies to detect and monitor methane leaks. Specifically, the proposal will require companies to monitor around 300,000 of their biggest wells every three months.

Furthermore, the proposal prohibits methane venting and requires upgrades for upstream equipment storage tanks, compressors, and pneumatic pumps.

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Groups and companies applauded US initiative during COP26

In addition, speaking about the initiative, EPA Administrator Michael Regan told Reuters in an interview. “This proposal is absolutely bold, aggressive, and comprehensive. The timing of this is critical. As we speak, world leaders are gathering right now in COP 26, in Glasgow. They are looking to the United States for true leadership.”

On the other hand, the rules will most likely take effect in 2023 and will aim at slashing methane from oil and gas operations by 74% from 2005 levels by 2035; an amount equivalent to the emissions created by all US passenger cars and planes in 2019, according to the summary.

According to analysts, the new EPA rules might add “pennies” to oil prices per barrel; and natural gas prices per thousand cubic feet of gas. In fact, oil industry group the American Exploration & Production Council said they could add “significant new costs associated with compliance.”

Finally, groups and companies in the US applauded the initiative. “We support the direct regulation of methane from new and existing sources and are committed to building on the progress we have achieved in reducing methane emissions.” Said the American Petroleum Institute. Also, companies like bp, ConocoPhillips, and others applauded the initiative.

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