Shell and ExxonMobil called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tighten methane restrictions from oil and gas operations.
In September, the Trump administration proposed weakening requirements for repairing leaks of the greenhouse gas in drilling operations. “It is a big part of the climate problem, and frankly we can do more,” said Shell’s U.S. Country Chair Gretchen Watkins in an interview with Reuters. “We don’t usually tell governments how to do their job, but we’re ready to break with that and say, ‘Actually, we want to tell you how to do your job.'”
Methane accounts for 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions but has more than 80 times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it escapes into the atmosphere. “We are pleased that companies like Exxon and Shell acknowledge the need for federal methane regulation,” said Liza Holzman, program manager of As You Sow Energy, a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility.
“Smart methane controls represent the low-hanging fruit that companies should implement while transitioning their business models toward complete Paris-compliance.” Shell has internally set targets to maintain its methane emissions by 2025 to below 0.2% of production.
ExxonMobil has previously voiced support for federal methane regulation consistent with its voluntary commitments. However, the company continues to be a member of the American Petroleum Institute, which has actively lobbied to weaken methane protections.