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Gas mid/downstream infrastructure operators develop policy recommendations to regulate methane emissions

Five European associations representing the operators of the European gas mid/downstream infrastructure (ENTSOG, Eurogas, GERG, GIE, MARCOGAZ) developed a set of technical and policy recommendations to foster the regulation of the methane emissions reduction in the energy sector.

On the path toward climate neutrality, it is essential to support the actions leading to the greatest reductions in methane emissions. European operators understood the importance and emergency of reducing methane emissions.

“We are committed to pursuing and intensifying our contribution to reducing emissions and welcome the proposal of the European Commission,” read the press statement. “Representing around 4 per cent of total European methane emissions, gas system operators have significantly decreased their methane emissions since 1990. We did that thanks to the implementation of several mitigation measures. To go further, some policy lever must be put in place.”

Among the recommendations, the signatories of the paper are proposing to consider a principle of proportionality: the EU Regulation should avoid obligating high-cost measures for end-users and society with little or no mitigation effect. Also, they are reminding that one type of solution does not fit all cases along the gas supply chain. Thus, flexibility is needed to prioritise actions to ensure the optimal cost-effective approach is applied. As representatives of the gas industry, they are acknowledging the importance of inspection and verification to ensure the quality of the methane emission reporting system. However, the administrative burden and costs associated with the assistance of independent verifiers are a concern. The roles of verifiers, Competent Authorities and the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) should be clear to avoid overlap. Also, Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) is considered an important instrument for reducing methane emissions from gas infrastructure.

Finally, ENTSOG, Eurogas, GERG, GIE and MARCOGAZ agree with the Commission’s assessment that extending obligations to non-EU actors is very complex and it is unclear how to effectively ensure that detailed EU requirements are properly implemented and verified in countries beyond the EU’s jurisdictions.

“We, therefore, consider international initiatives and intergovernmental agreements as the most effective way to address methane emissions occurring outside of the EU,” they write. “Nonetheless, we recognise that EU legislation can have a positive influence on operators and countries outside of its legal jurisdiction.”

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