• Draft EC plan to reduce methane emissions shying away from standards on production and transport

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

A draft of the European Commission’s plan to reduce methane emissions seen by Reuters does not contain a firm intention to extend standards to the production and transport of natural gas, according to the news outlet. Instead, the plan talks only of exploring the possibility of extending such standards, although it will require better monitoring and reporting of emissions, and perhaps most crucially, standards on the repair of leaks – which in a way could be a de facto standard on emissions. Some of the hesitation to set standards is probably out of administrative considerations – the EC’s ability to audit compliance by producers outside the EU bloc, be it in Norway, Russia, Algeria or elsewhere may be limited, and a failure to comply would mean that if the EC was to refuse the ability to supply, then the bloc could face fuel shortages. Environmental campaigners are pushing for EC regulation, arguing that self-regulation, even if adopted, does not work, and pointing to the significance of methane leakage as a contribution to total greenhouse gas emissions. Whether the EC modifies its plan before finalisation remains to be seen.