Skip to content
Flaring at the now decomissioned Volve platform in the North Sea

Why are methane emissions important?

Methane emissions are the second-largest contributor to global warming and account for almost a quarter of the increase in global temperatures.

Methane has a greater warming potential than CO2 in the atmosphere, but it also has a much shorter lifetime compared to CO2. Rapidly reducing methane emissions is therefore one of the most effective short-term measures for addressing climate change.

Equinor has been working actively to reduce methane emissions and gas flaring (photo) for over a decade.

  1. Home
  2. Sustainability
  3. Reducing methane emissions

Reducing methane emissions

Cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is identified by the IEA and others as one of the most effective measures to keep the world on track to net zero.

Equinor is already a leader on methane: our absolute methane emissions and emissions intensity is among the lowest in the industry. In collaboration with peers, governments, and technology providers, we are already working on a wide range of methane reduction measures. But we recognize that more action is needed.

Methane emissions are a global problem that require collective efforts beyond our own operations and beyond the borders of the countries we operate in. That is why Equinor has decided to support the World Bank’s new Global Flaring and Methane Reduction fund, which will provide assistance to low income countries with high methane emissions that do not have sufficient resources to reduce them without help. By working together, we can achieve significant reductions in methane emissions from our industry.

World Bank Logo

Our pledge to the GFMR fund

Equinor has pledged $25 million to the Global Flaring and Methane Reduction (GFMR) fund, a new World Bank-administered initiative announced at COP28, which aims to support flaring reduction and methane abatement in the oil and gas sector. Read more below.

Global Flaring and Methane Reduction Fund

This important program will apply technical and financial assistance for methane emissions reduction in the oil and gas industry, with a focus on operators in developing countries.

Methane is a significant contributor to climate change and this important program will apply technical and financial assistance toward significant sources of methane emissions in the oil and gas industry in order to provide meaningful reductions.

The fund aims to boost global efforts to end routine gas flaring and reduce methane emissions to the greatest extent possible.

We are proud to be among the first supporters of this program alongside governments and industry peers who believe climate change cannot be solved within any one nation’s boundary.

Our ambition

We aim to reduce the methane intensity from our oil and gas operations to near zero by 2030. We are on track, but constantly looking for ways to improve. We are doing this by:

  • developing and implementing technologies and procedures to detect and reduce methane emissions​​
  • supporting industry efforts to reduce methane emissions across the oil and gas value chain​​
  • increasing the quality and transparency of reported data​​
  • supporting the development of sound methane policies and regulations.​

Trialling methane detection drones

We have airborne drones that can “sniff” their way to methane, which can potentially leak from gas production. We are testing whether drones developed by SeekOps can provide us with more accurate emission data, an essential part of the work to reduce emissions.

Our performance

The average methane intensity for our operated assets (upstream and midstream) is 0.02%, which is around 1/10 of the industry average.

Methane intensity is defined as the total methane emissions from our up- and midstream oil and gas activities, expressed as a percentage of the total amount of marketed gas (both on 100 % operated basis).

Our actions

We focus our actions on four key areas: emissions reductions, improved data quality, support for policy development and collaboration with others.

Reduced emissions

Our business areas have implemented several reductions measures, including better energy management, improved technical design, electrification and efforts to minimise methane emissions and flaring.

One example is Snorre A. Snorre A is an oil platform based on the Norwegian continental shelf. Through reducing vented gas from glycol regeneration, we have reduced methane emission by almost 100 tonnes per year. The measure is profitable due to the high rate of taxation on vented gas.

Improved data quality

We are continuously working to improve emissions data accuracy.

We are using new technologies such as methane measurement by drone testing at Kollsnes and fly-over campaign at the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Article in EGU (European Geosciences Union) Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

Quantification and assessment of methane emissions from offshore oil and gas facilities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (EGU)

Support for policy development

Equinor promotes transparency and collaboration, and we are committed to playing an activerole in reducing methane emissions through direct and indirect climate policy engagement. We do this through driving policy engagement globally.

Collaboration with others

Working together is essential to reducing global methane emissions. Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and net zero by 2050 require significant efforts from across society, including from governments, companies and individuals.

Equinor is engaged in a number of initiatives to increase action in methane management, including:

Our reporting

To effectively reduce methane emissions, it is crucial to have a good understanding of the emission sources present in our operations and the magnitude of emissions associated with each source.

We therefore have focus on the monitoring of leaks, as well as the robustness of the methodologies used to quantify emissions. At the same time, we are working on technology development and deployment. By continuously improving the way we address and quantify methane emissions, we improve the credibility of our reported data and can also identify the mitigation measures that are most impactful.

In 2021, we published a third party-verified report focused on greenhouse gases (GHG) and methane intensities across the Norwegian gas value chain. This report was based on recent data and an increased understanding of methane emissions associated with gas produced in Norway and distributed to Europe. The results show that the piped gas and LNG produced in Norway have low GHG and methane intensities compared to other gas supplied to Europe.

Equinor is involved in a variety of external initiatives aimed at addressing methane emissions from oil and gas. As an example, Equinor has been a member of the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP) since its inception. The OGMP provides companies a credible and transparent way of improving their methane emissions reporting and performance.

We are pleased to have achieved gold standard status in the UN Environment Programme's International Methane Emissions Observatory 2021 Report based on our implementation plan and 2021 reporting.

UN EP International Methane Emissions Observatory 2021 Report