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Methane abatement

Methane abatement technologies include equipment and operational techniques that can be applied across oil and gas value chains to reduce emissions.

Oil pipeline in front of mountains

Key findings

Methane emissions from fossil fuels in the Net Zero Scenario, 2000-2030

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Global methane emissions increased in 2021, more action is needed by policy makers

Fossil fuel operations generate over one-third of all methane emissions from human activity. Action on methane is therefore one of the most effective steps the energy sector can take to mitigate climate change. Global methane emissions from fossil fuel operations increased by close to 5% in 2021 to over 120 Mt, mostly due to the rebound in fossil fuel production. Under the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, total methane emissions from fossil fuel operations fall by around 75% between 2020 and 2030.

Policy makers have at their disposal well-established policy tools that have been demonstrated as effective in driving reductions in these emissions in many contexts, including leak detection and repair programmes, technology standards and bans on non-emergency flaring and venting

Oil and gas sector methane emissions, historical and in the Sustainable Development Scenario, 2000-2030

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Drop in methane emissions from oil and gas industry in 2020 due mainly to lower production rather than prevention of leaks

Oil and gas operations worldwide emitted over 70 million tonnes of methane into the atmosphere in 2020. Converted into equivalent amounts of CO2, assuming that one tonne of methane is equivalent to 30 tonnes of CO2, these methane emissions are comparable to the total energy-related CO2 emissions of the European Union. This methane emissions figure for 2020 is around 10% lower than estimates for 2019. A large portion of this drop occurred because of the fall in oil and gas production over the course of the year – especially in countries and regions where production has a high emissions intensity.