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COP28: Minister, NNPC Recommit to Lowering Methane Emissions

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Minister of State, Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo has pledged Nigeria’s commitment to lower methane emissions.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited also expressed its commitment to work with global partners in the march towards reducing methane emissions in oil and gas operations.

Ekpo stated this while on a ministerial panel on actions being taken to accelerate compliance with the Methane Pledge at the ongoing 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while the NNPC NNPC executive vice president, Upstream, Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan, announced a charter signed on the sidelines of the COP28, different statements by the minister’s spokesman, Louis Ibah and the NNPC spokesman Olufemi Soneye, have shown.

The Methane Pledge targets the reduction of global anthropogenic methane emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030 and limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The gas minister who described President Bola Tinubu as an advocate of just, fair and equitable energy transition disclosed that Nigeria has set in place guidelines to ensure methane is kept under control, especially in the oil and gas sector.

Ekpo listed measures adopted by the country to lower emissions to include gas flares commercialisation programmes, establishment of energy transition and carbon monetisation units in regulatory agencies, even as emphasis is placed on carbon market development and enhanced sociwwwwal governance credentials directly supporting the methane pledge.

He said: “We have a decade of gas initiative to promote low carbon natural gas as the preferred choice of fuel and energy in Nigeria. The country is actively steering its energy landscape towards a lower methane intensive path aligning with the methane pledge.

We are focused on transitioning towards lower methane emissions. We are committed to consistently publishing comprehensive methane emissions data demonstrating accountability and progress in line with the methane pledge.

In Nigeria we are doing everything possible to ensure that flare gas is eliminated,” Ekpo added.

The Charter calls on the oil and gas sector to achieve the goal of reaching net-zero emissions for their own operations by 2050. It also includes commitments to achieve near-zero methane emissions and no routine flaring by 2030.

Speaking on the development during a Panel Session titled “Accelerating the Elimination of Methane Emissions & the Decarbonisation of Oil & Gas,” NNPC Ltd’s Executive Vice President, Upstream, Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan said the Charter was a major opportunity not just for the NNPC Ltd, but for the African sub-region.

“Africa contributes three percent to emissions, but that does not exclude us from the consequences of the emissions. I think the decarbonisation drive and the charter are not just ethical but also a strategic imperative for a major African National Oil Company (NOC) like ours.

We believe this charter is an important one. We are committed to working with all stakeholders to deliver on that,” Eyesan stated.

She said to achieve its near-zero methane emissions, Nigeria has since declared this decade as Decade of Gas, which is not only geared towards producing more gas for export, but also towards producing gas for local economy and that of the entire African sub-region.

“I assure you that we are open to working with our partners towards achieving zero-flare and methane emission reduction by 2030. This fits perfectly with our dreams, and we consider it achievable,” Eyesan stated.

She described finance and technology as the two major challenges in delivering on the provisions of the charter, noting that for the two problems to be solved, African countries need to work with partners who have the technology and finance.

She said NNPC Ltd remains committed to expanding its alternative energy sources through investment in solar, wind, and other renewable sources.

Meanwhile, notable global philanthropies, at the weekend, announced plans to invest $450 million over the next three years to help countries launch national actions to tackle methane, the second-most prominent greenhouse gas, which has become a new focus of global climate negotiations.

The philanthropies, which include the Bezos Earth Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Sequoia Climate Foundation, will help accelerate the phase-down of methane emissions and other non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases.

Their announcement comes as the United States, UAE and China prepare to make several announcements at the U.N. COP28 climate summit on Saturday on raising more finance to tackle methane, and countries step forward with new plans to curb those emissions.

Climate experts say that including methane efforts in a legally binding summit agreement is a priority. While methane has more warming potential than carbon dioxide, it breaks down in the atmosphere within just years compared with decades for CO2. That means that reining in methane emissions can have a more immediate impact in limiting climate change.

Methane is emitted from a variety of sources, including oil and gas production, agriculture, landfills and food waste.

“With time short, we must be smart and decisive about how we stay below a 1.5-degree warmer world. One smart way will be for all to commit to ending methane leakages now and to regulate, urgently, all other super pollutants,” said Mia Amor Mottley, prime minister of Barbados.

While more than 150 countries have promised since 2021 to slash their methane emissions 30 per cent from 2020 levels by 2030 under the U.S.- and EU-led Global Methane Pledge, few have detailed how they will achieve this.

Research firm, Kayrros, which tracks methane emissions, said on Friday that despite the pledge, emissions of methane are not coming down, and in some places, they are actually going up.

“We’ve been calling for an outright ban on super-emitters. Rapid cuts in methane emissions from fossil fuels could lead to a reduction of 0.1°C in global temperature rise by mid-century,” said Antoine Rostand, CEO of Kayrros.

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