EU methane rules must cover the entire gas supply chain, including imports

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

The policy proposals call for mandatory requirements to monitor, report and verify methane emissions, repair leaks as well as new provisions on venting and flaring. [Leonid Ikan / Shutterstock]

A group of environmental organisations and global energy companies, including Shell, have called for mandatory EU rules on methane encompassing the entire gas value chain, including imports from abroad, writes Maarten Wetselaar.

Maarten Wetselaar is the director for integrated gas, renewables & energy solutions at Shell.

When the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report on global warming the findings were sobering. They underscored the importance of cutting global emissions of methane – a potent greenhouse gas.

The next two months present a unique opportunity to address this specific, urgent challenge as the European Commission drafts relevant methane legislation as part of its ‘Fit for 55’ climate policy framework.

To support legislators, a group of global energy companies including Shell and environmental organisations today publish five detailed sets of recommendations, which build on our announcement last June. They are the result of an extensive consultation of technical specialists, societal organisations, and policymakers.

The policy proposals call for mandatory requirements to monitor, report and verify methane emissions – with an emphasis on data transparency. They also focus on obligations to detect and repair leaks, new provisions for flaring and venting, and biogas as an opportunity to decarbonise the wider gas system.

The recommendations address the wider context of methane emissions from all gas consumed in the EU, imported from outside the block as well as that produced within it.

This is why we are calling for the same standards for all gas consumed in the EU, and for rules and regulations that create a global level playing field and greater transparency across the worldwide gas supply chain.

Together, these recommendations are a comprehensive framework to address and cut methane emissions throughout the oil and gas industry. A significant step forward if they were to be adopted.

But by themselves, they will not be enough. As with other climate action, the only way we will stamp out unnecessary methane emissions across the sector is through action from companies (including Shell) across the gas supply chain and from governments. It’s not a case of either-or. Both are essential.

To succeed our endeavour must be a joint one: legislators and companies together driving down emissions of methane, as a core part of efforts to limit global warming.

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