Sustainability: Shell Outlines Methane Emissions

Royal Dutch Shell plc has announced a target to maintain methane emissions intensity below 0.2 percent by 2025.

To maintain this methane target, which covers all oil and gas assets for which Shell is the operator, Shell said it is implementing programs including the use of infrared cameras to scan for methane emissions, the deployment of “advanced technology” to repair leaks and the replacement of high-bleed pneumatically-operated controllers with low emission alternatives.

“This methane target complements Shell’s ambition to cut the net carbon footprint of our energy products by around half by 2050, which we announced in November 2017,” Maarten Wetselaar, Shell’s integrated gas and new energies director, said in a company statement.

“It is a further demonstration of our continued focus on tackling greenhouse gas emissions. Such efforts are a critical part of Shell’s strategy to thrive during the global energy transition by providing more and cleaner energy,” he added.

Head of UN Environment’s Energy and Climate Branch, Mark Radka, said reducing methane emissions brings immediate climate benefits.

“Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, but it has a relatively short lifetime in the atmosphere. That means reducing methane emissions brings immediate climate benefits, buying some time while we work out longer term solutions,” he said in an organization statement.

“This commitment by Shell is encouraging in itself but also because of the signals it sends to the rest of the industry,” he added.

The target for methane will be measured against a baseline Shell leak rate, which is currently estimated to range from 0.01 percent to 0.8 percent across the company’s oil and gas assets.

Last year, Shell brought together industry, international institutions, non-governmental organizations and academics to develop a set of methane guiding principles.

These principles focus on continually working to reduce emissions of methane throughout the gas industry and have now been signed by 16 companies, including BP plc, Eni S.p.A, ExxonMobil Corporation, Total S.A. and Repsol S.A.

In 2017, Shell also joined the Environmental Partnership in the USA, which requires companies to apply voluntary methane reduction measures in areas such as leak detection and the repair, replacement or upgrade of equipment. The partnership was developed by American Petroleum Institute.

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