The last part of this Toolkit presents recent developments and case studies of policy actions and technologies driving methane mitigation efforts. They illustrate how improvements in methane management have been achieved in different contexts and explore three key issues: (i) how to develop an effective policy approach; (ii) which tools and strategies have been successfully deployed to monitor emissions; and (iii) what are some of the leading abatement technologies being deployed across different industry segments.
These case studies show how policies and regulations can drive methane abatement. They cover experiences of jurisdictions in different stages of policy development, offering insights on how to tailor mitigation efforts to the resources and characteristics of each setting.
Colombia becomes first South American country to regulate methane from oil and gas
On 11 February 2022, the Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy finalised its flaring and fugitive methane emissions regulations, which aim to reduce fugitive emissions from upstream oil and gas activities at a national level – making it the first South American nation to regulate methane emissions from oil and gas. This case study presents the steps taken to achieve this milestone and the major components of this legislation.
Curtailing flaring and venting: New Mexico Methane Strategy
On 25 May 2021, New Mexico approved new rules proposed by the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department that require oil and gas operators in the U.S. state to capture 98% of their natural gas waste by the end of 2026. It applies to both upstream (production) and midstream (gas gathering and boosting) operations – encompassing wells, pipelines and gathering stations – within New Mexico. This case study provides details on the policy scope, enforcement strategy,
Tackling emissions at home and abroad: EU Methane Strategy and proposed regulation
On 15 December 2021, the European Commission tabled a proposed regulation targeting methane emissions in the energy sector. The proposal follows the EU’s strategy to reduce methane emissions, released in 2020. This case study discusses the background of the EU’s Methane Strategy as well as the content of the proposed regulation.
Western Canada: addressing infrastructure barriers
Canada has set an ambitious target: at least 75% reduction in oil and gas sector methane emissions from 2012 to 2030. To accelerate methane abatement in line with this goal, Canada is advancing policy measures and regulatory requirements for methane emissions reductions in the oil and gas sector. This case study presents one of these measures – Natural Resource Canada’s Emissions Reduction Fund – that supports investments in green technologies and infrastructure to reduce methane emissions from existing and already-scheduled oil and gas production.
These case studies show experiences with improving monitoring of methane emissions. They cover different technologies and approaches to more effective monitoring, reporting and verification systems.
A comprehensive assessment of methane emissions in the Permian basin: the PermianMAP project
Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF’s) Permian Methane Analysis Project (PermianMAP) was a methane monitoring and research project aimed at providing transparent and accessible methane emissions data from one of the world’s largest oil fields. The project was designed to use a variety of peer-reviewed advanced techniques to monitor and quantify emissions, including: satellite-based regional estimates; ground-based vehicle measurements and helicopter-mounted optical gas imaging; stationary measurement towers and periodic aircraft mass balance flights; and aircraft hyperspectral imaging. Resulting data was made available on a public website within days to weeks after data collection, as opposed to most scientific peer-reviewed efforts which take months to years.
Continuous monitoring systems: NextDecade and Project Canary
In 2021, NextDecade and Project Canary started a joint pilot project for monitoring, reporting, and independent third-party emissions measurement and facility certification of greenhouse gas intensity of LNG to be sold from NextDecade’s planned Rio Grande LNG export facility. The joint pilot project will measure emissions across the value chain through Canary X and Aeris continuous emissions monitoring devices, and use TrustWell™ and other certification processes to confirm emissions levels of each element of the natural gas value chain – from the wellhead to the ship at Rio Grande LNG.
Detecting and quantifying gas distribution leaks across cities in North America and Europe
Measurement campaigns have suggested that actual emissions across different end-use environments are often underestimated, including in cities and households. Mobile measurement platforms are one of the tools that have been used to characterise emissions from local distribution networks. These methods can quickly survey large urban areas, identify leaks, quantify the emissions distribution and support estimates of total emissions from distribution networks. This case study provides further details on such efforts to detect and quantify methane leaks in urban areas.
Measurement efforts uncover mitigation priorities: discrepancies in onshore & offshore emissions in Mexico
Mexico’s emissions inventories have been based in simple emission factors (i.e., IPCC Tier 1), and changes in the estimation methods have resulted in significant changes in emission estimates over the past decade. This makes it impossible to track changes in emissions as well as mitigation progress. A recent study quantified methane emissions from Mexico’s most important onshore and offshore oil and gas production regions using aircraft-based measurements and satellite data (TROPOMI and VIIRS night-time flare data). This study illustrated how satellite data can be used to independently assess the representativeness of other temporally discrete sampling approaches (i.e., aircraft) with respect to annualised emission rates—thus reconciling these estimates. A follow-up study integrated roughly two years of TROPOMI data to characterise and quantify methane emissions, by sector, for the majority of the country.
These case studies show experiences with improving management of methane emissions. They cover a wide array of technologies and processes that enable a reduction of emissions levels, highlighting current best practices in this field.
Beijing Gas: Tackling methane emissions in cities
Beijing Gas is developing a methane emissions governance system. This includes setting up reduction targets and a monitoring system as well as implementing measures to reduce methane leaks and vented volumes. This case study explores how Beijing Gas is taking a comprehensive approach to methane abatement in urban transmission and distribution networks.
Baker Hughes and bp: Reducing methane slips from flaring – Flare.IQ
Flares are an essential safety device that enable gas to be disposed of when a part of an oil and gas facility has to be shut down suddenly. Operators and regulators recognise the importance of achieving high combustion efficiency of flare gas in order to reduce methane emissions. When properly burnt off, the gas converts to carbon dioxide and prevents raw methane from entering the atmosphere via the flare stack. The combustion efficiency of flares should be at the level of 98% or higher. This case study shows how bp is using Flare.IQ (from Baker Hughes) to better understand, measure and ultimately reduce methane emissions associated with flares.
Chevron: Managing methane in shale and tight assets in the United States
Unconventional oil and gas resources account for most the United States’ hydrocarbon production. These operations often cover a wide area and pose particular challenges for methane mitigation. This case study discusses how Chevron implemented measures to reduce methane emissions in unconventional production by minimising designed flaring and venting in operations and piloting advanced methane detection approaches.
Enagás: Tackling methane emissions in the downstream segment
This case study shows how Enagás reduced methane emissions from its operations in the downstream segment. It presents a number of mitigation measures the company has implemented in this sense, including: annual leak detection and repair campaigns at all its facilities; use of boil-off gas compressors in LNG regasification plants; use of air-operated or electric valves in regasification plants and underground storage facilities; replacement of pneumatic actuators with electric ones; and recovery of compressor vents at the regasification plants.
GRTgaz: Abating vented emissions in transmission networks
This case study describes different solutions deployed by GRTgaz to reduce venting on its transmission network, to recover or reduce pipeline maintenance vents, compressors vents and even smaller vents on delivery stations. These solutions enabled GRTgaz to save more than 90% of the gas that would otherwise have been vented since 2018. On compression stations, a specifically-designed mobile recompression technology addresses intermediate-sized volumes. In addition, when recovery is not yet possible, a mobile blue flare stack is used to address vents. GRTgaz also implemented a specific multi-year investment plan to eliminate vent leaks and use gas resulting from depressurizations. Finally, GRTgaz developed a solution for maintenance activities on delivery stations, to enable the decompression of a station by dumping the volume of gas in another working pipeline.
Offshore Energies UK: The North Sea Methane Action Plan
In 2021, the United Kingdom’s offshore oil and gas industry committed to a range of methane emissions reduction actions under the North Sea Methane Action Plan. This plan comprises a halving of methane emissions by 2030 against a 2018 baseline, and a 90 % reduction by 2050. This case study outlines core elements of the Methane Action Plan, which was designed to complement and support regulatory measures in the UK.
Snam: Leak detection and repair applications
This case study elaborates on Snam’s Leak Detection Repair (LDAR) program, which consists of periodic campaigns for monitoring system components to identify methane leaks and plan maintenance operations. It outlines how components are monitored, repairs are carried out and LDAR data feeds into emissions quantification.
This page provides an overview of the Toolkit and how to use it, along with important background and context information.
A lot of material is currently available to inform action on methane. This page describes the various resources that have been developed to support regulators and policy makers with methane mitigation.
This page describes the different organisations that are working on reducing oil and gas methane emissions, organised by focus area.