EU law pushes foreign oil and gas producers to cut methane

(Climate Home News, 17 Nov 2023) The European Union reached a deal on Wednesday on a law to place methane emissions limits on Europe’s oil and gas imports from 2030, pressuring international suppliers to clamp down on leaks of the potent greenhouse gas.

Methane is the second-biggest cause of climate change after carbon dioxide, and in the short term has a far higher warming effect. Rapid cuts in methane emissions this decade are crucial if the world is to avoid severe climate change.

After all-night talks, negotiators from EU member states and the European Parliament agreed to impose “maximum methane intensity values” by 2030 on producers abroad sending fossil fuels into Europe, the council of the EU, which represents member states, said in a statement.

While burning oil and gas produces carbon dioxide, the process of taking it out of the the ground and transporting it often causes methane gas to leak into the atmosphere.

The import rules are likely to hit major gas suppliers which include the U.S., Algeria and Russia. Moscow slashed deliveries to Europe last year and has since been replaced as Europe’s biggest pipeline gas supplier by Norway, whose supply has among the world’s lowest methane intensity.

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Climate Home News, 17 Nov 2023: EU law pushes foreign oil and gas producers to cut methane