EU Okays Law Placing Methane Emissions Limits On Gas Imports

EU nations went ahead and gave nod to a law on May 27, 2024, so as to impose the limits of methane emissions on the oil and gas imports of Europe starting in 2030, thereby pressurizing the international suppliers to slash the leaks of the potent greenhouse gases.

It is well to be noted that methane happens to be a major element of the natural gas that nations burn in their power plants as well as use to heat homes. Methane also happens to be the second biggest cause of climate change across Europe, the first being carbon dioxide, and also fuels global warming when it gets into the atmosphere due to leaky oil and gas pipelines as well as infrastructure.

The EU ministers from various countries gave their respective governments final nods to the policy at a meeting held in Brussels, which means that it can now enter into force. It is worth noting that it was only Hungary that voted against it.

Starting in 2030, the EU will go on to impose maximum methane intensity values when it comes to the fossil fuels that are placed on the European market. It is the European Commission that will go on to design the right amount of methane limits by the said date.

Interestingly, the importers of oil & gas that go on to flout the limit can as well face some serious financial penalties. According to EU affairs director at the non-profit Clean Air Task Force, Alessia Virone, this import benchmark can potentially go on to decrease methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by almost a third, thereby noting that the status of the EU is the biggest oil and gas importer in the world. Notably, these rules are most likely to hit prominent gas suppliers such as the US, Algeria, and Russia. Apparently, Moscow has already cut deliveries to Europe ever since the war with Ukraine began in 2022 and has ever since been replaced by Norway as the biggest pipeline gas supplier in Europe. Norway, as a matter of fact, is counted among the nations with the lowest methane intensity in the world.

It is well to be noted that the Biden administration, which has, in partnership with the EU, rallied nations to slash methane emissions by 30% by the end of the decade so as to limit the climate challenge has gone on to welcome the methane law of the EU. The US in 2023, happened to set out its own set of rules, needing law firms to limit methane emissions.

An International Association of Oil & Gas Producers’ spokesperson said that it was concerned EU may not acknowledge other jurisdictions methane standards that exist as complying with its own, and due to this failure, the security of energy supplies may be in jeopardy. Apparently, the EU will also need European producers to consistently check their respective functions for methane leaks and also go ahead and ban most cases in terms of venting and flaring as oil and gas companies happen to burn or release the unwanted methane in the atmosphere.