Methane reducing measures are already adopted by some companies on a voluntary basis. However, there are limits to what can be achieved by voluntary action because the number of companies participating in those efforts is limited. Effective policies and regulations established by governments that complement voluntary efforts are also essential.
Policy and regulatory frameworks can ensure assertive and proportional effort across the natural gas supply chain.
In 2019, the Methane Guiding Principles partnership developed a Methane Policy Framework to provide a common basis for discussion between relevant stakeholders in the development and implementation of effective methane abatement policies.
The Methane Policy Framework sets out the key elements that would form an effective policy framework focused on ensuring ambitious methane reduction outcomes are met. It is intended to provide a foundation upon which jurisdiction-specific regulatory recommendations could be based.
The Methane Policy Framework recommends the following policy objectives and principles.
More specifically, the Methane Policy Framework suggests that policies should seek to incorporate the following elements.
- Apply to both oil and gas operations and across supply chain segments.
- Be informed by best available data and control techniques.
- Designed to achieve verifiable emission reductions consistent with ambitious national or subnational outcomes and timelines.
- Apply to new and existing facilities and encourage high standards of design and technology that minimise methane emissions.
- Be cost-effective and flexible, considering overall cost efficiency to industry and society, as well as societal and climate benefits of reducing emissions.
- Understand the impact of super emitters, what they are, why they occur and how they may be tackled.
- Encourage and support innovation.
- Establish transparency.
- Embrace continuous improvement, learning from existing methane policies and driving more ambition over time.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) Methane Tracker
The IEA has developed a Methane Tracker, which provides information on oil and gas methane emissions, the abatement potential, and approaches to abatement. The IEA is also developing a network of regulators to advance the importance of managing methane emissions. The information on this tracker can support regulators in developing and improving methane policy and regulations on a national and regional level.