A lot of material is currently available to inform action on methane. While there are still gaps to be filled, a number of robust resources have been developed to support regulators and policy-makers with the various aspects of methane mitigation. Here we introduce tools and publications that provide a technical and institutional basis for policy action, divided across three focus areas.
These resources cover materials that support the development of policies and regulations that incentivise early action, drive performance improvements, facilitate proper enforcement, and support flexibility and innovation – in line with MGP Principle number four.
Clean Air Task Force’s Recent lessons learned report
Recognition of methane’s role in accelerating climate change is leading governments to come forward and begin tackling this issue domestically and internationally. In this executive report, the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) offers a perspective on what countries can learn from existing initiatives to reduce the methane emissions from their oil and gas industries. CATF had the privilege of working directly with all the countries mentioned: Nigeria, Colombia, Canada, and Mexico. Building from this experience, the document provides information on how to develop short-lived climate pollutant mitigation policies and regulations in the sector and how to link those reduction policies into Nationally Determined Contributions.
Environmental Defense Fund - Policy instrument options for addressing methane emissions from the oil and gas supply chain
This paper from the Environmental Defense Fund lays out regulatory and policy instruments options available to strengthen the incentives to address methane emissions in jurisdictions that produce oil and gas as well as in those that import oil and gas. It aims to help policy makers assess which option is most attractive given regional circumstances and the relevant regulatory and political constraints.
European Commission - Best Available Techniques Guidance Documents
This guidance document for organisations engaged in hydrocarbon activities and for regulatory/permitting authorities aims to help make these activities less damaging for the environment. It addresses 13 onshore and 10 offshore activities of the oil and gas extracting sector that have the potentially highest impact on the environment and human health. These include handling of drill cuttings, chemicals and hydrocarbons or management of fugitive emissions. The identified best practices serve as guidance for the design of new facilities or for modifications to existing facilities, as well as for planning changes and investments, and in permitting activities across the European Union.
ExxonMobil Model Regulatory Framework
This model framework discusses key sources and control measures for methane emissions from oil and gas operations. Some issues for authorities to consider when establishing regulatory approaches are also provided where relevant. While this model focuses on upstream operations, many of the mitigation measures could be applicable to emission sources in other segments of the natural gas value chain such as distribution and storage.
GGFR’s Global Regulatory Review on Flaring and Venting
GGFR’s review of Global Flaring and Venting Regulations describes the associated gas flaring and venting regulations adopted in 28 jurisdictions across 21 oil-producing countries. The review summarises information on gas flaring and venting, including laws, regulations, decrees, standards, and other relevant government documents, as well as on monitoring and enforcement experiences. The review also draws lessons about the effectiveness of the regulatory framework and institutional governance and about monitoring and enforcement by relevant regulatory institutions. Findings can be accessed either through a dedicated online portal, or through the two publications: The Global Comparative Review of Policies and the companion report covering 28 Case Studies from Around the World.
IEA’s Regulatory Roadmap and Toolkit
Driving Down Methane Leaks from the Oil and Gas Industry: A Regulatory Roadmap and Toolkit provides a detailed ‘how-to’ guide for policy makers and regulators seeking to cut these emissions. It shares the experience of jurisdictions that have already adopted methane-specific regulations and supports the design of policy frameworks tailored to local circumstances. Therefore, it covers existing regulatory approaches, key variables to take into account when developing regulations and introduces a ten-step roadmap for policy makers working in this area. The report is currently available in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.
IEA’s Pathways to a 75% Cut by 2030 report
Curtailing Methane Emissions from Fossil Fuel Operations: Pathways to a 75% Cut by 2030 explores practical measures that governments and companies can take to secure a 75% reduction in methane emissions from fossil fuel operations as envisioned in the IEA’s Net Zero by 2050 Roadmap. Building on the estimates of emissions and abatement options in the IEA Methane Tracker, it quantifies the potential impact of a range of measures, including policy and regulatory action, measures focused on international supply chains, voluntary industry initiatives and improvements in transparency of emissions data.
UNEP Methane abatement training and capacity building opportunities
The United Nations Environment Programme launched a methane training program in the fall of 2020 with initial funding from the European Commission and designed by the Environmental Defense Fund and Carbon Limits. The training aims to support countries considering methane reduction for the upstream oil and gas sector. The virtual 8-hour training is free of charge and designed for any government, ministry and national oil company employee, irrespective of their educational background or experience of methane. The training series is offered through the International Methane Emissions Observatory. Training has already been delivered to over 15 countries in 5 regions (Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa and the Middle East). The program consists of modules with a 30-45 minute pre-recorded video and short questionnaire that are completed prior to daily interactive 90-minute virtual sessions.
- Introduction: Overview Module
- Module 1: Methane Emissions in the Oil and Gas Sector
- Module 2: Methane Detection, Measurement and Quantification
- Module 3: Methane Mitigation
- Optional: Advanced Upstream Methane Emissions
For further information and to arrange a training session, please contact: Shareen Yawanarajah (SYawanarajah@edf.org) or Meghan Demeter (email@example.com)
The Global Methane Pledge commits countries to move “towards using the highest tier IPCC good practice inventory methodologies.” These resources provide references for methane emissions measurement, reporting and verification, and approaches to drive mitigation.
Carbon Limits MIST Tool - Methane Inventory Systematic Tool
Carbon Limit’s Methane Inventory Systematic Tool (MIST) is a free to use tool that allows oil and gas companies to develop their methane inventory. It can support companies in the preliminary stages of their first facility-level inventory as well as those engaging in complex quantification using detailed engineering calculations and measurements. The tool allows companies to estimate emissions for 28 different emissions sources and derive related abatement potentials. The software is fully compatible with the reporting requirements.
CATF Oil and Gas Country Methane Abatement Tool - CoMAT
CoMAT is a tool from the Clean Air Task Force that enables countries to estimate how much methane their oil and gas industries could reduce. It is free and easy to use and customizable by country. Policymakers can make estimates using purely default assumptions or change input parameters at a granular level using specific information about their country’s oil and gas infrastructure. After estimating emissions, the tool allows users to design a mitigation program tailored to that country’s specific pollution sources using proven best practices.
Collaboratory to Advance Methane Science - Methane Emissions Estimation Tool
The Collaboratory to Advance Methane Science (CAMS) is an industry-led research collaboration administered by GTI Energy that advances the understanding of methane emissions along the natural gas value chain and that develops abatement solutions and strategies through scientific research and technology evaluation. It developed the Methane Emissions Estimation Tool, an open-source modeling tool that helps regulators, industry and the research community more accurately track methane emissions in oil and gas production facilities and basins. Furthermore, CAMS recently supported a research project to directly measure methane and CO2 emissions from an operating LNG vessel. CAMS is also a key sponsor of Project Astra, a collaborative effort to develop a high-frequency smart real-time monitoring system across oil and gas facilities in the Permian basin.
Compendium of Leading North American Regulations and Emission Standards for Air and Climate Pollutants from Oil and Gas Operations
This Compendium organised by the Clean Air Task Force provides a brief overview of methane regulations in North America. It covers the most important recent oil and gas air and climate pollutant regulations promulgated by North American national and state/provincial governments. It also lists recommended “best in class” regulations for each major specific emissions sources / equipment types, chosen from among the regulations in place in these jurisdictions.
European Gas Research Group - Methane Quantification Projects
The European Gas Research Group has several ongoing projects related to the quantification of methane emission. The Technology Benchmark for Site Level Methane Emission Quantification Project explores the state and current viability of top-down methane quantification methodologies (top-down methodologies seek a comprehensive view of site-wide emissions using vehicle-mounted sensors, aircrafts, satellites, or fixed cameras, often coupled with atmospheric models). The Methane Emission Quantification for Transmission Project aims to identify the most reliable and easy to use devices in the quantification of methane emissions from natural gas transmission systems, such as measuring stations, compressor stations, pipelines, and stop and bleed assemblies.
GGFR 2022 Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report
GGFR’s annual Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report and interactive flaring data visualization are leading independent indicators of gas flaring levels, with data on the thousands of flares around the world. The World Bank – in partnership with the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and The Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines – has developed these global gas flaring estimates based upon observations from satellites launched in 2012 and 2017. The advanced sensors of these satellites detect the heat emitted by gas flares as infrared emissions at global upstream oil and gas facilities. Users can filter cross a range of variables, including year, region, country, onshore/offshore, flare size, and field type. The tracker also features a number of related information, such as flaring intensities and an Imported Flare Gas Index.
GIE & MARCOGAZ Methane Emissions Action Plan
Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) and MARCOGAZ released the Methane Emissions Action Plan to consolidate and organise the various ongoing projects of the gas industry aimed at tackling methane emissions. The efforts outlined in the Action Plan address the challenges and gaps outlined in a previous joint GIE/MARCOGAZ report (Potential ways the gas industry can contribute to the reduction of methane emissions). For each proposed or initiated action item, the Action Plan identifies the involved parties, proposed timelines and relevant deliverables.
IEA’s Global Methane Tracker
The Global Methane Tracker provides estimates of methane emissions based on the latest evidence from the scientific literature and measurement campaigns. For the oil and gas sector, it also presents detailed estimates for the abatement potential – and costs or savings – from different technology and policy options. Further, building on the IEA’s Policies Database, it shows a snapshot of the policy tools in place to tackle oil and gas methane emissions within each country and an assessment of what greater policy action could achieve.
Methane Emissions Technology Evaluation Center
The Methane Emissions Technology Evaluation Center (METEC) is a research program based at Colorado State University’s Energy Institute. Membership is open to any company or organisation with an interest in air emissions from energy systems. METEC works with industry, regulators, community organisations, and other academic institutions. It engages in testing and experimental investigations that are open to anyone – over 40 leak detection and quantification technologies have been tested at the facilities. The METEC team and associated faculty have also been involved in multiple large-scale field campaigns covering most sectors of the natural gas supply chain. In addition, METEC collaborates with other academic institutions such as the University of Texas at Austin and Harrisburg University to develop emissions simulation software.
Methane Guiding Principle’s Best Practice Guides
The Reducing Methane Emissions Best Practice Guides have been designed to help those responsible for developing methane management plans. Each guide provides a summary of current known mitigations, costs, and available technologies as at the date of publication. The following topics are covered in the guides:
- Systematically minimise methane emissions through Engineering, Design and Construction
- Reducing methane emissions from flaring
- Reducing methane emissions that result from energy use
- Reducing methane emissions from equipment leaks
- Reducing methane emissions from venting
- Reducing methane emissions from natural gas driven pneumatic equipment
- Reducing methane emissions related to operational repairs
- Systematically improving methane management through continual improvement
- Reducing methane emissions through identification, detection, measurement and quantification
- Reducing methane emissions in transmission, storage, LNG terminals and distribution
The Best Practice Guides are available in English, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic and Russian.
OGCI, Ipieca and IOGP Recommended Practices for Methane Quantification
OGCI, Ipieca and IOGP will publish a framework for improved methane quantification later in 2022. The report will discuss how to apply different combinations of technologies to (1) better identify the frequency and persistence of large methane emissions in specific operating environments and (2) provide guidance for the implementation of complementary technology for emissions quantification.
Oil and Gas Methane Partnership 2.0
The Oil & Gas Methane Partnership 2.0 (OGMP 2.0) is a multi-stakeholder initiative launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. It is a comprehensive, measurement-based reporting framework for the oil and gas industry. Already over 70 companies with assets on five continents representing 50% of the world’s oil and gas production have joined the partnership. In order to join the OGMP 2.0, companies sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UNEP to formally express their adherence to the OGMP 2.0 Reporting Framework. There is no fee associated with joining the Partnership. Companies that join the OGMP 2.0 commit to deliver against four key objectives:
- Provide governments and the public with assurance that industry member methane emissions are being managed responsibly, thus credibly informing policy decisions.
- Provide member companies with a credible means to demonstrate that they are contributing to climate mitigation, making progress against declared targets, as well as reinforcing the case for natural gas as an important fuel in the energy transition.
- Encourage improved methane reduction performance in reporting and methane emission reduction through transparency, flexibility, collaboration, and best practice sharing.
- Encouraging wider participation in the OGMP 2.0 so that significant methane emissions reductions are realized by 2025/2030.
SGI’s overview of monitoring technologies
There are large differences between data based on measurement campaigns and scientific studies, and the emissions levels reported by official public bodies, such as to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This mismatch exists at both global and national levels and for all sources of emissions. For those countries where data is lacking, improving inventory methodologies and ensuring comparability – incorporating direct measurement where possible and developing facility and source specific emissions factors – will be an important marker of early progress. See this Overview of available monitoring technologies developed by the Sustainable Gas Institute for a summary of available methods, their applicability, potential uses and limitations.
UNECE Best Practice Guidance for Effective Methane Management in the Oil and Gas Sector
The UNECE’s Best Practice Guidance for Effective Methane Management in the Oil and Gas Sector report provides guidance for developing and implementing effective monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) practices, in addition to outlining methane mitigation practices. It is aimed at a broad audience, including operators of oil and gas facilities as well as government policymakers. The report organises its coverage of methane management along two lines, the physical dimension (oil and gas supply systems) and the institutional dimension (methane management practices at the company, national, and international levels).
Veritas is a GTI Energy Differentiated Gas Measurement Initiative that provides a standardised way of measuring and calculating methane emissions, and methane emissions reductions. It is a set of technology-agnostic protocols for measuring and calculating methane emission intensities. Protocols have been developed for six segments across the natural gas value chain: Production, Gathering & Boosting, Processing, Transmission & Storage, Distribution and LNG. The initiative is currently in its demonstration phase and being tested in 15 demonstration projects. Veritas currently has 20 sponsor companies ranging from utilities, natural gas producers, midstream operators, LNG distributors and environmental NGOs. The Veritas protocols and related methodology documents are scheduled to be released publicly by the end of 2022 after feedback is incorporated from the demonstration phase, vendor feedback period and public comment period.
These resources cover other tools and resources that could be of interest to policy makers and regulators looking to tackle methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. Here we highlight databases, publications and pages that explore particular aspects of methane mitigation and enable detailed research of existing abatement efforts.
Climate and Clean Air Coalition Resource Library
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition hosts the Mineral Methane Initiative and a Resource Library. The latter features a number of pieces on policy and regulatory assistance for government actors, including: best-practice guides; policy, technological and economical assessments; as well as papers on financing and innovation. In addition, the library contains peer-reviewed studies that measured methane emissions from oil and gas operations and black carbon emissions from flaring.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in-depth resources
EDF has published a number of briefs and discussion papers covering methane policy and regulation. For example, the Economics discussion paper on pricing of methane emissions from oil and gas production provides a preliminary assessment of how a well-designed price on methane emissions from oil and gas production incentivise oil and gas companies to increase their mitigation efforts and improve their methane detection and measurement practices. Furthermore, a separate analysis prepared for EDF by Germany’s Enervis Energy Advisors illustrates how a comprehensive policy could offer far-reaching climate benefits.
Florence School of Regulation Policy Briefs
The Florence School of Regulation has published policy briefs that discuss methane reduction opportunities. The latest is Designing an EU methane performance standard for natural gas, which was developed in together with the Environmental Defense Fund and describes policy pathways for a methane performance standard for natural gas to address upstream emissions for both imported and domestically produced gas. Other briefs cover satellite and other aerial measurements, EU regulatory developments and related topics.
GGFR: Financing Solutions to Reduce Natural Gas Flaring and Methane Emissions
GGFR’s Financing Solutions to Reduce Natural Gas Flaring and Methane Emissions report provides a systematic framework to evaluate the feasibility of reduction projects at medium-sized flaring sites. The goal of the report is to help policy makers and operators analyse investment barriers, identify key variables and success factors, and model financial options for medium-sized flares. These flares require major financial investment for which traditional financing approaches and solutions are ill-suited. The report proposes a spectrum of solutions to help monetize natural gas at these medium-sized flares, aiming to create financial incentives for flaring reduction that can complement existing regulatory frameworks.
Global Methane Initiative Tools and Resources
The Global Methane Initiative’s Tools and Resources library contains over 2,400 resources from GMI related projects and events around the world, dating back to 2002. The available resources include reports, presentations, fact sheets, training videos, and calculators. Users can filter across sector (biogas, coal, oil and gas, steering), topic (e.g. methane reduction strategies), and geography.
IEA Policies Database
The International Energy Agency’s Policies and Measures Database offers access to information on energy-related policies and measures taken or planned to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency and support renewable energy development and deployment. Users can filter topics of interest (e.g. methane abatement), countries, technologies (e.g. well completion), policy type (e.g. leak detection and repair requirements), sectors (e.g. upstream) and more. Every entry provides a summary of the policy or measure, highlighting aspects related to the topic of interest, as well as a link to the original source of information.
MGP Flaring Emission Mitigation Cost Tool
The MGP’s Flaring Emission Mitigation Cost Tool is a free to download excel worksheet. The tool allows asset managers at oil and gas companies to determine baseline methane emissions from flaring, screen potential mitigation options, and assess which options are most cost effective and result in the most reductions. Users input a variety of data related to their facilities, including the nature of their current flaring technologies—the tool then produces a variety of useful outputs, including a ranking by cost effectiveness and reduction potential of three mitigation technologies (reinjection into oil or gas reservoirs, installation of a vapour recovery unit, and on-site production of compressed natural gas)
MGP Gap Assessment Tool
The MGP’s Gap Assessment Tool is a free to download excel worksheet. It enables organisations to carry out a self-assessment of the completeness and maturity of their existing methane management arrangements based on a simple scoring system. The scoring system is organised around the Plan-Do-Check-Act management method. Users respond to questions across these four categories, and the tool outputs scores into “radar charts” that provide a summary overview of the user’s current strengths and opportunities. The goal of the tool is to help organisations identify where gaps exist in their current arrangements in order to develop improvements to methane management.
MGP’s Methane Library
The Methane Guiding Principles website hosts the Methane Library: a repository for information, tools and case studies relating to the management of methane within the oil and gas industry. Users can filter by facility type (e.g. LNG), activity (e.g. reporting), topic (e.g. flaring and venting), content type (e.g. guidance and methodologies) and language.
Natural Gas Star Methane Challenge
The Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program is a voluntary program founded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with oil and natural gas companies. The program recognises those companies that have made specific and transparent commitments to reduce methane emissions. It hosts a number of recommended technologies by emissions source, capital costs, estimated payback periods and industry segments. For each technology, there is an associated paper providing an overview of the operational requirements, applicability, abatement potential and related costs.
This page provides an overview of the Toolkit and how to use it, along with important background and context information.
This page describes the different organisations that are working on reducing oil and gas methane emissions, organised by focus area.