MARCOGAZ’s Secretary General addresses methane management at United Nations Sustainability Energy Week

22 September 2021 | News - Press releases

On September 22, MARCOGAZ’s Secretary General Manuel Coxe addressed the issue of methane emissions management at the Sustainable Energy Week organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), featuring the 30th Jubilee session of the Committee on Sustainable Energy.

The Secretary General’s speech addressed some of the crucial issues on the mitigation and reduction of methane emissions. The messages conveyed elaborated on the concerted European and global actions and initiatives to mitigate methane emissions, costs of reduction vs. inaction and the benefits of reducing methane emissions for the gas industry.

Methane emissions released by the gas sector in the European Union account for 0.6% of the total EU greenhouse gas emissions. The industry has managed to make considerable progress in the reduction of methane emissions thanks to best available technologies, which remain a top priority.

According to a previous survey by MARCOGAZ, 23 European companies managed to reduce 650,456 tons of methane between 2015 and 2018. This figure corresponds to a 29% decrease compared to the chosen base year varying between 1990 and 2017.

European and international actions

During his speech, MARCOGAZ’s Secretary General highlighted the importance of broadened actions at national, European, and international level.

In addition, Mr. Coxe emphasised the need for greater progress on mitigation and reduction of methane emissions, by improving information and data sharing, and by taking actions on measurement, reporting and verification.

For increased methane management in the gas sector through improved leak detection and repair (LDAR) on natural gas infrastructure, natural gas production, gas transport and use is important. Additionally, investments in innovative technologies and methodologies to further detect and reduce methane emissions are crucial.

Various cooperative actions include promoting dissemination programmes, support for policy makers, technical insight for standardisation bodies and exchange of views and experiences with international organisations.

Cost of mitigation emissions vs. cost of inaction

With a view to mitigating and reducing methane emissions, the gas industry covers the costs for measurement, reporting, verification, leak detection and repair, and innovation. The frequency of measurement, reporting, and verification also has a cost.

Even when the costs of reducing methane emissions are not reflected in tariffs, the gas industry continues to mobilise resources to increase efforts.

Mr. Coxe’s speech also underscored that the cost of inactions on reducing methane emissions include the negative externalities on public health, environment and climate are overwhelming. It would also undermine the public perception of natural gas and its role in energy transition.

Benefits of methane management for the gas industry

Overall, methane management in the gas industry delivers beneficial results for the sector, the environment, public health, and climate:

  • Leak detection and repair allows for enhanced operational safety
  • Methane data management ensures transparency and comparability
  • Minimising CO2 and methane emissions enhances environmental protection, public health and ecosystem integrity
  • The effort to manage methane emissions accelerates low-carbon economy and provides an incentive for the gas industry to integrate renewable and low-carbon gas technologies including hydrogen and biomethane

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