• How Will the EU's 2021 Methane Legislation Affect Fuel?

Fuel for Thought

How Will the EU's 2021 Methane Legislation Affect Fuel?

Apr 04 2021

The European Commission has opened its public consultation on the forthcoming EU Methane Strategy, which was first published last October and will incorporate feedback from the consultation to reach its finalised state later this year. Given that methane is the second-largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitted in the EU – accounting for 10% of all GHG emissions – it’s viewed as important to discuss how its deleterious impacts upon air pollution and climate change can be mitigated.

The EU has previously set a target of cutting methane emissions by 29% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, but its likely that objective will now be revised in the face of mounting pressure to reduce overall GHG emissions by 55% by the same date. This is likely to have a significant effect upon many industries, including agriculture, transport and energy.

What the legislation aims to achieve

The specific goals outlined in the proposals for the new policy are twofold. On the one hand, the Commission recognise that quantifying the scale of the problem is the first step to overcoming it, which is why methane monitoring is a must throughout the bloc. The policy hopes to enhance the availability and accuracy of data collected on methane emissions throughout all EU member states.

Secondly, the legislation will introduce concrete obligations which will force companies involved in affected sectors to curb their emissions and contribute towards the achievement of the overarching goals. This is likely to concentrate heavily on the energy sector, which is why fuel could well see itself heavily affected in the wake of the policy’s implementation.

How is fuel likely to be affected?

After a turbulent 2020, it seems that the only certainty is uncertainty for the corona-stricken oil industry. Now, with vaccines being deployed across the globe and the virus apparently being brought to heel, the beleaguered sector had been planning a route back to normalcy. The new methane emissions legislation is likely to complicate the picture further, since it will require oil and gas companies to make detailed reports on methane activity in their plants, including that incurred by leakages and accidents.

There are also rumours that the legislation may prohibit the practices of venting and flaring, which intentionally emit methane into the atmosphere or combust it. However, any such regulations will be subject to the public consultation period, which readers of Petro Online are invited to participate in. You can have your say by visiting the survey site prior to midnight on April 30th 2021, at which time the consultation period will come to an end.

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