IOGP response to IEA Global Methane Tracker Report

IOGP welcomes the IEA’s continued focus on methane emissions and recognizes that the industry, as a whole, still has progress to make on methane measurement, reporting, and mitigation. However, IOGP feels it is necessary to highlight a number of points in the report that were excluded in media coverage and that may lead to an incomplete understanding of the complexity of managing methane emissions.

No single database is accurate for all emissions. The IEA notes that advances in monitoring technologies, notably from satellites, have been a key to boosting understanding around level and nature of methane emissions.  It recognizes that uncertainty around data is an issue that needs to be resolved to drive down methane emissions across all sectors. This is in line with the report’s findings that “these assessments remain incomplete – most countries and regions still have little or no measurement-based data and the data they provide often require careful processing.”

Satellite technology alone is unable to give a complete assessment of methane emissions. The IEA also recognizes that there remains ambiguity over the magnitude of emissions, because satellite technologies are unable to provide a complete assessment in areas of reduced visibility. Satellite usage therefore needs to be deployed in conjunction with a bottom-up assessment at asset-level.

The first-time inclusion of the coal and bioenergy sectors is clearly a major contributor to the increased reporting. We also note from the report that methane emission estimates for the oil and gas sector have decreased compared to 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

The IEA’s statement that current high gas prices would result in methane mitigation at no net cost gives a distorted view of operational challenges. The ongoing volatility of gas prices is circumstantial, and each asset may necessitate a different approach to detection, measurement and mitigation based on location, asset type, etc.

We agree with the IEA that there is significant variation in performance across the global oil and gas sector, and in reporting methodologies. This is why IOGP is a supporting organization to the Methane Guiding Principles, an industry initiative which aims to improve peer-to-peer learning, to help the whole industry improve. In addition, IOGP fully supports the OGMP 2.0 Reporting Framework, or equivalent, with companies setting out to achieve the gold standard in quantification over time to improve the credibility of methane reporting. Wider adoption of this methodology will enable better alignment of corporate datasets. including the use of our forthcoming Methane Recommended practices for detection and quantification to get there.