The relatively short atmospheric lifetime of methane combined with its strong warming potential means that targeted strategies to reduce emissions can provide climate and health benefits within a few decades. The oil and gas industry has the potential to reduce methane emissions by up to 70 MMT of methane - with a climate impact of approximately 6 Gigatonnes CO2e.
There are many cost-effective and proven solutions for keeping methane in the system and out of the atmosphere. Fixes are often as easy as tightening loose valves and repairing leaky equipment. Leak detection and repair (LDAR) programmes that use infrared cameras, for example, to detect methane emissions are among the most effective strategies to consider. Other times, sites may need changes to engineering design to prevent recurring, intermittent issues such as emergency venting. There are many options for companies to reduce vented emissions, such as electrifying sites or capturing vented gas for fuel use. Critically, companies should not just address active leaks but also consider the root causes of emissions to identify and address potential sources of high emissions in the future.
Advancements in remote-sensing technologies allow operators to pinpoint emissions faster and gather useful data to analyse root causes for implementing prevention measures. Continuous monitors that track methane emissions levels can also alert operators to leaks or super-emitter events instantly, reducing the time a source is emitting and improving operational efficiencies. Satellite technology offers the potential of further characterizing emissions on a global scale, providing information for oil and gas producing regions with little to no data for countries, companies, and NGOs to verify progress on emissions reductions worldwide.
Methane is the primary component of natural gas, so methane emissions represent a wasted product that coud otherwise have been sold. As a result, many methane mitigation activities save more money than the upfront cost, leading to net savings.