Policy Solutions

Oil & Gas Methane

Reducing Leaks and GHGs

The oil and gas industry emits methane, a potent GHG, throughout the oil and gas supply chain, including during production, refining, processing, and transportation of fuels.

In 2018, the oil and gas sector was the largest single source of methane in the manufacturing sector and represents more than 15 percent of total manufacturing emissions. The bulk of these emissions come from leaks and venting, also called fugitive emissions, from production wells and associated equipment and processes as well as transmission and distribution pipelines.

Many low-income and historically disadvantaged communities are directly impacted by oil and gas methane – both in terms of exposure to methane and health-impacting co-pollutants and relying on the industry for employment. If natural gas is going to play a role in a decarbonized future, curbing oil and gas methane emissions across the nation – and especially in disadvantaged communities – is imperative. Technologies to detect and prevent leaks are readily available and can dramatically reduce emissions when combined with the use of best practices and high-performance equipment. However, complementary policy is needed to achieve widescale adoption of these solutions. Policies that create setbacks or buffer zones around oil and gas facilities have gained traction with environmental justice groups concerned with the adverse health, air quality, and land use impacts associated with them.

Oil & Gas Methane Policy Recommendations