Major LNG buyers partner to limit methane emissions

Shoko Oda and Aaron Clark, Bloomberg July 18, 2023

(Bloomberg) – The U.S., the European Commission, Japan, South Korea and Australia are collaborating to limit methane emissions from liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply chains.

Although few details were released, the partnership represents a shift for some of the world’s biggest LNG buyers. It may force suppliers who want to sell to Japan and Korea to reduce accidental and intentional releases of methane from their supply chains.

Methane is the primary component of natural gas and responsible for almost a third of the world’s heating since the industrial revolution.

“This initiative is an unprecedented cooperation among LNG buyers to achieve a cleaner LNG value chain, by encouraging LNG producers to reduce methane emissions,” Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura said at the LNG Producer-Consumer Conference on Tuesday in Tokyo where the initiative was announced.

The European Commission and Japan want to move towards data collection that will provide emissions intensity data at a cargo, portfolio and operator level, according to a joint statement released by the group. In a separate session at the same conference, the Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security said it would work with Jera Co. and Korea Gas Corp. to collect data on methane emissions from individual LNG projects.

Cutting leaks and intentional releases of methane, which has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide during its first two decades in the atmosphere, is one of the cheapest ways to combat climate change.

If global oil and gas operators spent $75 billion — roughly equivalent to 2% of 2022 net income — to curb releases of methane through 2030, that would keep the sector on a pathway to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century, the International Energy Agency said in a report last month.

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