Offshore oil and gas industry body OGUK has published its Methane Action Plan, a blueprint for helping the sector reduce methane emissions and one of the first key deliverables of the North Sea Transition Deal, agreed in March between industry and the UK Government.
Methane is one of the world’s most potent greenhouse gases, having up to 80 times the impact than that of carbon emissions.
Offshore installations release these emissions through a process called flaring and venting for primarily safety reasons when extracting oil and gas.
Oil and gas is the third largest methane emitter in Europe, behind agriculture and landfills and waste.
The plan sets out six actions in total, with four new actions for industry. These include reducing methane by 50 per cent compared to 2018, committing to 0.20 per cent methane intensity by 2025 and stopping all routine flaring by 2030.
It will also ensure all companies and installations create individual action plans by the end of 2022.
- 50% reduction in methane emissions by 2030 – the UK industry will halve methane emissions by 2030 (against a 2018 baseline) in accordance with overall emission reduction targets.
- UKCS methane intensity below 0.20% by 2025 – the UK industry will adopt the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative methane intensity target of 0.25% (stretch 0.2%) by 2025, at basin level to drive short-term operational efficiency
- Zero-routine flaring before 2030 – industry will aim to meet the World Bank Zero Routine Flaring initiative by 2030, with companies and installations accelerating compliance where possible before 2030
- Asset MAP – each company and offshore installation will develop its own Methane Action Plan by 2023, including a monitoring and measurement plan, flare & vent plan and abatement plan
- Measuring methane – installations will seek to validate methane quantification wherever practicable by relevant measurements.
- International Alignment - The industry will seek to align to international standards and reporting principles
OGUK emissions improvement manager Thibaut Cheret said: “Methane is one of the world’s worst greenhouse gases, so reducing methane emissions will have an immediate effect on the climate that reductions in CO2 alone cannot achieve.
“With this plan, the UK industry can contribute to keeping world temperature below the dangerous 2C mark, while producing the energy the UK will need for decades to come in a healthier way.
“Alongside our North Sea Transition Deal, which is fast-tracking a 60 million tonne reduction in the UK’s carbon dioxide, we are an industry leading the way in the energy transition.
“We hope to see companies and other industries around the world adopting a similar approach, developing their own comprehensive guidelines to accelerate the drive for net zero and reposition for a sustainable future.”