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Dutch gas sector working on further reduction of methane emissions

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Greenhouse gases are released during the production of natural gas. The best-known greenhouse gas is CO2. But methane – the main component of natural gas – is also a greenhouse gas and, in fact, has a much stronger greenhouse effect than CO2.

In 2017, total methane emissions in the Netherlands amounted to 18.0 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. The oil and gas sector contributed 2.7% of this total. The agricultural and waste sectors contributed 69% and 16% respectively.{nbsp1/} Although its methane emissions are relatively modest, the gas sector is actively working to further reduce its emissions. For example, a methane emission reduction programme for offshore installations is currently being implemented. And an independent measurement programme was carried out in 2018 in collaboration with the government. In the study, TNO found that the measured methane emissions corresponded well with the methane emissions self-reported by the operators.

In 2019, producers of natural gas signed a covenant with the Minister of Economic Affairs, Eric Wiebes. The gas producers agreed, among other things, to ensure that methane emissions would be reduced by 50% by the end of 2020 compared to 2017 levels, representing a reduction of about 4,500 tonnes of methane per year (equivalent to 112,500 tonnes of CO2).

Furthermore, the gas producers want to improve the accessibility of the emissions data. Each year, they report environmental data, including methane emissions, in accordance with a protocol established by the government (the electronic annual environmental report, or "e-MJV"). The State Supervision of Mines (SSM) is responsible for checking whether the reports filed are complete and correct. The emissions data for 2017, 2018 and 2019 (after verification by SSM) will be posted on www.onsaardgas.nl in due course.

Together with Gasunie, Netbeheer Nederland and GasTerra, NOGEPA has prepared a factsheet on methane emissions. This is part of NOGEPA's efforts to help improve the understanding and transparency of methane emissions throughout the gas chain: from the exploration and production of natural gas through to its, transport and distribution.

Read the short version of the factsheet here. The extended version of the factsheet can be found here.


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