A group of 62 mostly European oil and gas companies have agreed to both report their emissions of methane to a United Nations-linked group and to targeted reductions for methane emissions.
Methane is a greenhouse gas that is significantly more powerful than carbon dioxide. It is the main component of natural gas and is often emitted during production and transportation of fossil fuels.
The new agreement, which includes large firms such as Shell and BP as well as smaller ones, calls for companies to report their emissions from all parts of the oil and gas sector where methane can be emitted, including production and transmission of fuel to underground storage.
These emissions would be reported as part of the Oil & Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP), which was launched at the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit in 2014.
The agreement states that the data will be kept largely confidential, though the U.N.’s Environment Programme intends to publish an annual report on the aggregated data.
It also sets a sectorwide goal of reducing methane emissions by 45 percent from 2015 levels by 2025 and either at least a 60 percent reduction by 2030 or alternatively reaching near-zero emission intensity for early parts of the process known as upstream production.
The agreement says that these goals are meant to be average targets and that better performing companies are “expected to set more ambitious targets.”
No U.S.-based company was included in the list of participating companies, though some companies on the list operate in the U.S.
The agreement doesn't deal with greenhouse gases emitted during consumption of the energy produced by the companies.