Authorities work on plans to reduce methane emissions in the Latin American oil and gas sector

June 11th, 2019. Representatives of the Governments of Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru, and large hydrocarbon companies in Latin America and the Caribbean met in Lima to analyse concrete measures to reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector quickly. In this way, the meeting sought to increase the ambition of the climate commitments registered in the Paris Agreement.

Methane is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2). Over the last twenty years, methane has attributed to a quarter of the temperature rise. Since the duration of this gas in the atmosphere is relatively short, measures to reduce its emissions are considered a quick and cost-effective way to slow the rate of global warming in the short term.

The oil and gas sector are responsible for 24% of human-induced methane emissions. The International Energy Agency estimates that the industry can reduce methane emissions by 75% and that up to two-thirds of these reductions can be made at zero net cost.

The Vice Minister of Environmental Management of Peru, Albina Ruíz, called for joint actions at the international level in order to assume “commitments that we can make jointly, between the business and public sector. Those commitments will have as an aim to reduce emissions from methane”. In Peru, the Ministry of Environment is working with the Ministry of Energy and Mines in this regard, Ruíz said.

“Reducing methane emissions is a fast, cost-effective and meaningful way to contribute to climate action. The hydrocarbon producing countries in our region, with the support of oil companies, have the potential to design concrete measures to curb and take advantage if they intend to expand the ambition of their climate commitments. This is an opportunity that we should not and cannot miss”, said Leo Heileman, Regional Director of the UN Environment in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the High-Level Workshop to promote the reduction of methane emissions in the oil and gas sector in Latin America and the Caribbean, representatives of the Ministries of Environment and Energy of the aforementioned countries worked together with the national companies. YPF (Argentina ), Ecopetrol (Colombia), Petroamazonas (Ecuador), Pemex (Mexico) and Petroperú (Peru) were present to create plans that could significantly reduce emissions by 2030, as well as mechanisms that can reflect their objectives in the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) of the Paris Agreement.

Representatives of international oil and gas companies such as Repsol and Total also participated in the meeting.

The event was organised by the Ministry of Environment of Peru, the regional office of UN Environment and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which promotes a global alliance to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 45% by 2025 and 60% to 75% by 2030.