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Methane regulations

Natural gas – increasingly decarbonized over time – has a key role to play in getting the world to net zero. It can complement renewable energy sources, help to reduce emissions and improve air quality. Tackling methane emissions is vital if gas is to play its fullest role in the transition. But to do that, we need to tackle methane emissions fast, and regulations can help
An image of a drone flying with drawn methane molecules beside it

Methane matters


Methane currently accounts for around one-fifth of man-made global greenhouse gas emissions on a like-for-like basis. 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. 

 

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

Reducing methane in our operations 

 

Methane is the primary ingredient in natural gas. That’s why we’re taking action to minimize methane emissions at our sites. 

 

bp recently opened Grand Slam, a new centralized processing facility in the Permian Basin, our largest US onshore location. This electrified facility reduces methane emissions by replacing or eliminating the need for gas-driven equipment – including compressors and generators – and reducing the potential for leaks. It also helps reduce flaring by keeping gas in the pipe instead of burning it off. 


Keeping gas in the pipe is the right thing for the planet and for our business – the more gas we can bring to market, the more gas we can sell. We see Grand Slam as a promising model to replicate across our operations. And, it’s a key part of our plan to reach zero routine flaring at our onshore operations by 2025.

 

  • We’ve spent $300 million to build a centralized processing facility in the Permian Basin that eliminates some of the largest sources of emissions by electrifying and centralizing oil, gas and water handling equipment. We have plans to spend upwards of an additional $1 billion on similar infrastructure across our operations by 2025 to achieve our target.
  • We’re electrifying our operations. We expect over 75% of bpx energy-operated wells in the Permian will be electrified by the end of 2021 and over 95% by 2023.
  • And we’re using state-of-the-art emissions monitoring technologies – fixed wing aircraft, drones, high resolution cameras.

 

Measuring methane

 

Not only are we aiming to be net zero across our entire operations on an absolute basis by 2050 or sooner, we’re also adopting a new measurement approach to address methane emissions. This means installing methane measurement at all our existing major oil and gas processing sites by 2023 with a plan to publish the data collected and use it as a baseline to halve our methane intensity. 

 

Increased measurement is key to better reporting and planning targeted interventions (and assessing their impact). And we hope that by sharing our data, we can help others improve their methane emission reduction efforts, too.

 

Direct federal regulation is the right thing to do 

 

Voluntary initiatives alone will not be enough to effectively minimize methane emissions across the sector. Regulation has a clear role to play. It’s a fair way to ensure all companies are prioritizing methane abatement.


We believe that tackling methane is key to protecting the role of gas on the way to net zero. So we’re convening experts, sharing best practices, advocating globally – including in the US – for greater regulation of methane.


bp isn’t waiting for regulation to reduce emissions from our operations. Tackling methane is front and center in bp’s near-term net zero transformation.