RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – The International Energy Forum (IEF) has held its first technical workshop with member countries to agree a measurement methodology for methane emissions from the energy industry, in preparation for the COP26 climate change conference later this year.
The IEF Methane Initiative is designed to empower member countries to collect standardized data on methane emissions, a critical component for their contributions to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in the UK later this year. In the absence of standards, experts estimate that currently reported methane emissions are about 10 percent of what is observed by satellite.
The technical workshop gathered selected countries representing almost half of global oil and gas production, one third of coal production, a third of hydrocarbon consumption, and a third of global carbon dioxide and methane emissions.
"Member countries have embraced this initiative as critical and timely in the industry's fight against global warming," said Dr Leila R. Benali, Chief Economist of the IEF.
"Judging from the emerging consensus and the engagement of the country representatives, we can say that the first phase of the project is successfully reaching its primary objective to bring a majority of countries together to agree on a common standardized methodology," she added.
The methodology combines top-down satellite infrared measurements from Sentinel-5P, part of the Copernicus constellation of satellites operated by the European Space Agency, with bottom-up contextual data to give a more accurate estimate of energy-sector methane emissions and intensities.
The project is complementary to other efforts to reduce methane emissions, such as the Global Methane Initiative, and is expected to conclude in September. It is being conducted in partnership with Kayrros, an advanced observation and data analytics company.
The new methodology will allow IEF member countries and their energy industries to consider the best available data on methane emissions, define or improve their historical methane baseline and set mitigation goals in a transparent and consistent manner.
With these targets, IEF members would be able to present credible plans for reducing their methane emissions in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November.