Methane has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, but it has a higher global warming potential.
The global warming potential of methane is at least 84 times greater than CO2 over a 20-year period. As it breaks down more rapidly in the atmosphere than CO2, that potential decreases to around 25 times greater when calculated over a 100-year period – the timeframe most governments and companies use to assess its impact.
So, we are targeting a methane intensity of 0.2%, and holding it below 0.3%.
This includes the methane emissions from our operations where gas goes to market as a percentage of that gas – accounting for more than 90% of methane emissions from our operated oil and gas assets.
We don’t include methane emissions that result from gas that is only reinjected, recycled or associated with assets where BP doesn’t produce the gas.
Across much of our upstream operations, we have adopted standard procedures for leak detection and repair that determine the scheduling and number of inspections, as well as how we track and report methane leak repairs.
We inspect our major operations for leaks at least annually and often more frequently, depending on the technique used and regulatory requirements.
In many locations, we use technology like infrared cameras to identify and help prevent small seeps from becoming more hazardous leaks.
At our Sangachal terminal in Azerbaijan, we trialled infrared cameras with specialized software to detect and more accurately quantify methane emissions. This will help us prioritize leak repairs and improve our reporting.
Thirteen of our 22 major projects scheduled to be delivered by 2021 are gas, so we’re designing them in ways that should reduce methane emissions from the outset.
As one example, our Khazzan site in Oman has a central processing facility so there’s no need for processing equipment at each well site. Fewer processing sites lowers the potential for emissions.
OGCI is investing in technologies to reduce emissions and aiming to work towards near-zero methane emissions from the gas value chain.
This initiative – part of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition – looks at methane emissions at an operational site level, which will help to inform actions we can take to reduce emissions.
BP and seven peers have agreed to five principles for reducing methane emissions across the gas value chain. The principles were developed by a coalition of industry, institutions, academics and NGOs – including the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sustainable Gas Institute. They are: ◦ Continually reduce methane emissions. ◦ Advance strong performance across gas value chain. ◦ Improve accuracy of methane emissions data. ◦ Advocate sound policies and regulations on methane emissions. ◦ Increase transparency.
BP’s US onshore business has signed up to this API initiative, in which member companies commit to minimize methane emissions and to share information on technology deployment.
We’re supporting Princeton University in its work to enhance the scientific understanding of methane and its contribution to global warming.