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Natural gas and the transition to net zero

Today, natural gas allows billions of people to enjoy access to lower carbon heat and power. And, as the world works towards net zero emissions, we think natural gas will play an important role in getting us all there

How can gas be part of a low carbon world?

  • Natural gas has far lower emissions than coal when burnt for power and is a much cleaner way of generating electricity. Switching from coal to gas has cut more than 500 million tonnes* of CO2 from the power sector this decade alone. 

  • And, as electricity production increasingly switches to renewable sources, gas is a flexible partner to wind and solar, providing quick and reliable back-up power whatever the weather. This gas + renewables partnership has helped the UK to lower emissions to levels last seen in the 19th century. 

  • BP is leading on tackling methane emissions to help maximise the climate benefits of gas. That means reducing flaring and minimizing methane leaks. BP was among the first of the energy companies to set a stringent target of 0.2% for methane emissions. BP was the first to commit to continuous methane measurement for all our new oil and gas projects. To achieve this, BP adapted technology from NASA's mission to Mars, the medical sector and the defence industry to deploy drones, lasers and cameras across its operations. BP is a signatory of the Methane Guiding Principles, an initiative to help lower methane emissions across the industry. 

  • Looking ahead, natural gas can be decarbonized. When it's burned to generate power or heat for industry the carbon dioxide generated can be captured so that it doesn't reach the air through using carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) technologies. And, it can also be used to produce hydrogen, which produces water-vapour when burned. Through the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative and the Net Zero Teesside project, BP is working to accelerate the potential of CCUS to take the carbon out of hydrocarbons. And, as a member of the Hydrogen Council, BP is supporting hydrogen as a key element of the energy transition. 

    IEA report ‘Role of Gas in Today’s Energy Transitions’
Energy illustrated – episode 4: natural gas

What we're calling for: 

  • Carbon pricing 
    BP has been calling for carbon pricing for more than 20 years. Well-designed and effective carbon pricing is the most powerful tool there is for decarbonizing energy. 
  • Decarbonized gas infrastructure
    Gas distribution systems can be made hydrogen-ready as society moves to a net zero world. 
  • Regulations to reduce methane emissions are a necessary complement to voluntary efforts by BP and other companies. Regulations should be well-designed and flexible to enable deployment of new technologies to detect leaks. 
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