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International Leaders Assemble in Egypt at COP27 with Methane Emissions Top of Mind

This year’s “Conference of the Parties” (COP) 27 climate summit held in Egypt included several announcements from the U.S. delegation with implications for the oil and gas industry as related to domestic production.

While the last COP26 summit called for reductions in coal and fossil fuel use, it could not anticipate the energy geopolitical crises of 2022. Country leaders, particularly in Europe and Asia, have come head-to-head with the energy trilemma as the war in Ukraine severely impacted the security and affordability components. While the focus of COP summits is on the third pillar of the trilemma — sustainability — the topic is difficult to address without looking at energy systems and global systems as a whole.

Leading up to the U.S. midterm elections, President Biden continued to hammer the U.S. oil and gas industry for high gas prices while simultaneously calling for oil companies to put rigs back to work – both of which industry has pushed back on for being inaccurate depictions of how the industry functions. The Biden Administration has a complex relationship with the domestic oil and gas production industry but its focus on climate change and emissions is steadfast. President Biden’s appearance in Egypt included a slate of new initiatives aimed at showing leadership on the issue of climate change.

U.S. announcements during COP27 included:

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methane rule strengthening proposed domestic methane regulations in the oil and gas sector that would reduce U.S. methane from covered sources by 87% below 2005 levels
  • Agreement between the U.S., Germany and Egypt to cooperate on the reduction of methane emissions from Egypt’s oil and gas sector
  • Declaration uniting major energy importers and exporters to minimize flaring, methane and CO2 emissions across the fossil energy value chain to the fullest extent practicable

Specifically, on the oil and gas sector, the White House statement says:

“The oil and gas sector represents the fastest and deepest methane emissions reductions opportunities to achieve the GMP target. Capturing flared and leaked gas in the oil and gas sector is also a critical near-term solution to boost global gas supplies and support energy security, as 260 billion cubic meters of gas are currently wasted every year from flaring and methane emissions within the sector.”

The EPA announcement on stronger methane regulations for the oil and gas sector would supplement standards EPA released in November of 2021, which Energy Workforce previously commented on. The updates, according to EPA, would “promote the use of innovative methane detection technologies and other cutting-edge solutions, many of which are being developed and deployed by small businesses providing good-paying jobs across the United States.”

EPA will be taking comments on the supplemental proposal until February 13, 2023 and host virtual trainings for communities, tribes and small businesses about participating in the public comment process on November 17 and 30. A virtual public hearing will be held on January 10 and 11, 2023. Energy Workforce is forming a working group to submit comments and welcomes Member Company perspectives.

For additional information about this process or to discuss options for making comments, please contact SVP Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley.

Maria Suarez-Simmons, Senior Director Energy Policy, writes about industry-specific policies for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.


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