Methane Leaks, Gas Flaring Could Be LNG’s ‘Achilles’ Heel’, IEA Chief Warns
Methane leaks and gas flaring will become the Achilles’ heel of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry if producers don’t commit to serious greenhouse gas emission controls, International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol told an industry event in Washington, DC this week.
“In my view, companies should not be so greedy,” Birol said. “When you look at the future, the Achilles’ heel of the gas industry is the methane emissions. And the good news for the industry is that this can be fixed by existing technology, only using the best practices. And I can tell you that many companies are taking this seriously.”
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Birol said emission reduction investments, even if they’re driven by tougher regulation, would only result in a “nominal” cost increase of 7% or less, S&P Global Market Intelligence reports. And “minimizing methane emissions would have gas play a bigger role in reducing air pollution and aiding energy transitions,” the analyst firm states, citing the speech. “Longer-term planning for the adoption of hydrogen, biomethane, and carbon capture utilization and storage will enhance the sustainability and social acceptance of gas infrastructure.”
S&P cites several industry participants at the forum, hosted by the American Petroleum Institute, the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, and LNG Allies, who echoed Birol’s position.
“We cannot afford to be saying gas is a great fuel for lowering CO2 emissions and then burning 1 Bcf of gas in the basins,” said Octávio Simões, senior adviser to the CEO of Houston-based Tellurian Inc., described by S&P as a U.S. LNG veteran. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”