A group of 62 oil and natural gas operators, which together represent 30% of the world’s production, agreed Monday to report their methane emissions with a “higher level” of transparency.

The Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP) is a Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) initiative led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the European Commission (EC), and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). 

Partner companies in the OGMP include BP plc, Ecopetrol SA, Eni SpA, Equinor ASA, Neptune Energy International SA, Petroleos Mexicanos, PTT Public Co. Ltd., Spain’s Repsol SA, Royal Dutch Shell and Total SE. 

“The new OGMP 2.0 framework is the new gold standard reporting framework that will improve the reporting accuracy and transparency of anthropogenic methane emissions in the oil and gas sector,” the participants said.

“As one of the world leaders in the natural gas value chain, Total is committed to reducing methane emissions to ensure that natural gas continues to play its key role in the energy transition,” said CEO Patrick Pouyanné. “This new partnership will foster the sharing of industry best practices, especially on nonoperated assets, and improve monitoring.

“Our performance is amongst the industry’s best as we have already cut methane emissions by 45% since 2010.” 

The initiative “offers an internationally recognized blueprint to companies across our industry willing to make improvements in their emission reductions in all phases of the value chain,” said Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi. “We look forward to continuing working with all partners involved, as only through collaboration with international organizations, civil society and governments we can deliver on our common goals.”

The OGMP 2.0 includes not only a company’s operations, but also the joint ventures often responsible for a substantial share of the total production. The framework applies to the full oil and gas value chain, including upstream production as well as midstream transportation and downstream processing and refining.

At the core of the effort is a comprehensive measurement-based methane-reporting framework that would make it easier for officials, investors and the public to accurately track and compare performance across companies in ways that had not been possible.

The OGMP 2.0 aims to deliver a 45% reduction in the industry’s methane emissions by 2025, and a 60-75% reduction by 2030. 

EDF President Fred Krupp said the commitment by the 62 operators “will be the basis for robust standards in Europe, and beyond, that ensure the oil industry takes the practical actions urgently needed for our climate.”

The Trump administration has sought to rescind Obama-era controls on U.S. methane emissions from the oil and gas industry through regulatory rollbacks and lawsuits. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to lead a renewed push to limit GHG emissions when he takes office in January.

UNEP Executive Director Inger Anderson said that to win the “race to net zero emissions, we need everyone on board. We need ambitious action from the oil and gas industry…We look forward to seeing actions that turn commitments into actual emissions reduction.”

As stipulated in the European Union methane strategy, the EC is planning a legislative proposal on compulsory measurement, reporting, and verification for all energy-related methane emissions, building on the OGMP 2.0 framework.

EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson noted that “clear commitment to measure and monitor emissions is an important first step for significantly reducing them…” 

The agreement “is the first deliverable under the Commission’s recent methane strategy. There are many more steps to take to cut emissions along the entire value chain and I hope to work closely with all — European and international — partners to reach this goal.”

UNEP and the EC are also finalizing plans to set up an independent International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO). The IMEO would aggregate and analyze multiple methane emissions data streams, including data reported by OGMP member companies, to accelerate reductions in methane emissions globally. By assisting industry and governments globally in addressing uncertainty related to reported emissions, the Observatory will improve the consistency and credibility of methane emissions data and accelerate mitigation actions.