The International Energy Agency (IEA) has launched a new online tool that tracks oil and gas-related sources of methane.
The new methane tracker offers a comprehensive global picture of oil and gas methane emissions, covering eight industry areas across more than seventy countries.
Methane in the atmosphere is currently around two-and-half times greater than pre-industrial levels and increasing steadily, according to the IEA, and they say this rise is contributing to climate change as methane is a potent greenhouse gas.
However, natural gas accounted for almost half the growth in global energy demand in 2018, and 70% of the increase came in two countries – the United States and China – helping to prevent a faster rise in global CO2 emissions in recent years.
The IEA believes that global methane emissions from the oil and gas sectors could be reduced by nearly half at no net cost.
They say that efforts to minimise methane emissions along their supply chains is an ‘essential complement’ to reductions in CO2.
They have also set out the reductions that are possible using existing technology and shed light on this underexplored component of energy transitions.
The IEA predict that oil and, in particular, natural gas will play important roles in the energy system for years to come, even under strong decarbonisation scenarios aligned with international climate goals.
Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director said: ‘The oil and gas sectors have an open goal in front of them. They can avoid close to 50% of their methane emissions without hurting the bottom line.
‘Doing so would have the same long-term climate benefits as immediately eliminating emissions from more than half the cars on the road worldwide.’