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Methane emissions and natural gas

Natural gas – increasingly decarbonized over time – has a pivotal role to play in getting to net zero. And tackling methane emissions is vital if gas is to play its fullest role in the energy transition. We need to tackle methane emissions fast, and regulations can help

Supporting direct federal regulation of methane

The EPA is writing a new rule to regulate methane emissions from America's oil and gas production. At bp, we’re all in. We want a strong rule that brings everybody in our industry on board to tackle this potent greenhouse gas. 

 

That’s why we’re asking the EPA to be open to new, better technologies as they’re available. Regulations often pick one solution that exists today and require its use into the future. A rule that embraces innovation is one that supports real climate progress and America’s natural gas industry. It’s a real flex.

 

💡 What is methane gas?

The main component of natural gas, methane currently accounts for around one-fifth of man-made global greenhouse gas emissions. It has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2), but a greater near-term warming potential. In fact, methane has more than 80 times the warming power of CO2 over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere.

Our own progress so far

We’ve long supported a stronger methane rule, and have already begun upgrading our US onshore facilities to cut emissions. Keeping gas in the pipeline is the right thing for the planet and for our business – the more gas we bring to market, the more gas we can sell. Grand Slam, our $300 million centralized processing facility in the Permian Basin, helps us do just that through electrifying and centralizing equipment. We see this as a promising model to replicate across our operations and plan to spend an additional $1 billion on similar infrastructure through 2025.

A group of 6 workers monitoring bp methane emissions at bpx energy's Grand Slam facility.

💡 How is methane being reduced?

At bp, we’re aiming for zero routine flaring by 2025 in our US onshore operations and globally by 2030. And, we’ve already made meaningful progress on methane reductions from our own facilities, with plans to go much further in the next few years. In the US, we’re deploying a variety of methane detection and monitoring technologies to efficiently and effectively address methane emissions.

Direct federal regulation is the right thing to do

Voluntary initiatives, like Grand Slam, will not be enough to make the methane emission cuts across our sector that the planet needs.

 

Regulation has a clear role to play: It’s a fair way to ensure all companies are prioritizing methane abatement. That’s why we support stronger federal methane regulations.

 

💡 What does reducing methane emissions do?

Because of methane’s shorter lifetime in the air, reducing new methane emissions could dramatically reduce the rate of warming. So curbing methane emissions from oil and gas now can have incredible near-term impacts—both on climate warming and the world’s ability to meet net zero by 2050 or sooner.

 

As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) develops new regulations, we ask that the final rule will:

  • Harness the power of innovative technology in leak detection and monitoring
  • Establish a flexible continuous monitoring framework that is outcome-oriented
  • Apply a phased approach for replacing pneumatic controllers at existing sites
  • Utilize a matrixed approach to monitoring fugitive emissions from well sites.
bp currently operates 1,900 wells across approximately 1.5 million acres that the new EPA methane rule will apply to. We aren’t waiting for regulation to reduce emissions from our operations. Tackling methane is front and center in bp’s net zero transformation.
A picture of pipelines in the Texas Permian Basin with the quote "We're not waiting for regulation, we're in action. But stronger regulation is critical-it levels the playing field." -Mary Streett, SVP Communications & External Affairs, Americas at bp
bp’s Mary Streett joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Environmental Defense Fund in a discussion on Lowering Methane Emissions in the Global Gas Industry.