Major oil companies aim for zero methane emission by 2030

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FILE PHOTO: Snow covered Shell logo is seen at a petrol station in Istanbul

HOUSTON – A group of the world’s top oil companies, including Saudi Aramco , Shell and Exxon Mobil , said on Tuesday that it has committed to cut fugitive emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, to near zero by 2030.

The decision by Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), which includes 12 of the world’s largest oil and gas company follows calls by governments at the Glasgow COP26 climate summit last year to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

Methane emissions, the main greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, are caused by natural gas leaks from infrastructure. It has a higher heat-trapping potential than CO2 but breaks down in the atmosphere faster – meaning that cutting methane emissions can have a rapid impact on reining in global warming.

“We recognize that eliminating methane emissions from the upstream oil and gas industry represents one of the best short-term opportunities for contributing to climate change mitigation and for advancing the goals of the Paris agreement,” OGCI Chair Bob Dudley said in a statement.

OGCI members will report their annual methane emissions, they said in the statement.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said last month that methane emissions from the energy sector were 70% higher than officially reported.

(Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Marguerita Choy)