That is according to Gordon Birrell, BP’s chief operating officer for production, transformation and carbon, who spoke at an event in London this week about BP’s methane-reduction activities.
Gas projects are helping BP transition to a lower carbon future, offering a cleaner alternative to coal and helping to lower emissions at scale. Last year, six of BP’s seven major energy projects were gas.
As BP’s production increases, the additional focus on reducing methane emissions is delivering positive results.
“We’re actually finding that as well as improving environmental performance, our work to reduce emissions is also improving operating efficiency and bringing down our cost structure,” Birrell told delegates at the BP-hosted event.
He said BP was working hard to reduce methane emissions in both existing projects and when developing new projects.
To accelerate progress in methane reduction, BP was incorporating new guiding principles into its business and adopting new technologies as well as collaborating with peers and research institutions, Birrell said.
“Through the actions we are taking in our business, and our work with partners and peers, we are taking a lead in managing the methane challenge,” he said.
The event brought together experts from industry and academia to discuss progress on reducing methane emissions. Roundtable discussions allowed delegates to exchange ideas and feed into a broader debate about methane emissions.
Professors Stephen Pacala, François Morel, Rob Socolow and other experts from Princeton University showcased their latest methane research. The work, which is partly funded by BP, includes studies into carbon sinks as well as carbon capture, usage and storage.
BP recently set out targets to reduce emissions across the group. As part of this, BP is targeting methane intensity of 0.2%, which relates to the proportion of BP’s marketed natural gas lost as emissions. Professor Pacala endorsed BP’s methane intensity target, saying if it were to become the industry standard, “this would be a major step forward in efforts to tackle global warming.”
This is an important time for the debate surrounding methane, as BP’s head of Technology, David Eyton, pointed out. The energy industry is facing a dual challenge of meeting growing global demand for energy while transitioning to a lower carbon future, in line with the goals set out in Paris in 2015. Eyton emphasised that natural gas will play a useful role in this transition and also as a destination fuel once decarbonised.