Plugging methane from leaky oil and gas facilities would be free of cost almost everywhere in the world, and in many cases would produce a significant profit, at today’s soaring gas prices, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has found, suggesting that governments have few excuses for not taking action to curb emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas.
Russia is one of the biggest sources of methane emissions from its vast oil and gas operations, but few efforts are made there to control the leaks. According to the IEA, Turkmenistan and Texas are also leading sources of leaks.
Last year, leaks from fossil fuel operations amounted to as much gas as Europe burns for power in a year. If that methane had been captured and used, the current gas crisis and soaring prices could have been largely avoided, the IEA said.
“Putin has deliberately hidden Gazprom’s massive methane leaks for decades, fooling a complacent Europe,” Bledsoe said. “In fact, Russia’s huge fugitive emissions of methane make its natural gas worse from a climate perspective than the coal it’s meant to replace. It has taken the current crisis for Germany and the EU to recognise that its codependence on Russian gas is a geopolitical and climate nightmare from which they must finally awake. Reducing Russian gas reliance is a huge climate and moral imperative that Europe must prioritise.”