US, Russian gas fields among highest GHG emitters in the world – Climate TRACE

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About half of the 50 largest sources of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in the world are oil and gas production fields and their associated facilities including processing plants, according to Climate TRACE, a GHG emissions tracking agency. The agency lists the Permian shale basin in the US as the largest GHG emitter, followed by the Urengoyskoye gas field in Russia.

Climate TRACE’s findings were presented at the sidelines of the COP 27 climate summit in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, this week.

The world’s 14 highest emitting assets were oil and gas fields, many in the US and Russia, according to the report. The highest emitting asset not linked to oil and gas production was the Jiangsu Shagang Group’s steel plant in China, ranked 15th.

Texas’ portion of Permian Basin was ranked as the highest emitting asset at 206.8 million tonnes CO2e100 ahead of  the Urengoyskoye gas field in West Siberia at 152 CO2e100. The CO2e100 metric accounts for emissions in addition to CO2, such as methane, based on their 100–year global warming potential.

The Marcellus shale play in the north-east of the US was ranked third among the heaviest emitters, while Gazprom’s Bovanenkovskoye gas field in the Yamal peninsula was ranked fourth. Other heavy emitters in the top 10 include Iran’s South Pars gas field, Russia’s Zapolyarnoye gas field in West Siberia, the Permian in New Mexico, the Sulige gas field in China, the Arctic Yamburgskoye gas field in Russia and the Hassi R’Mel gas field in Algeria.

Climate TRACE’s emissions data covers 72,612 individual sources worldwide, it says. This includes power plants, steel mills, urban road networks, oil and gas fields and refining.

The agency said the data is sourced independently and primarily based on direct observations of activity rather than self-reported data. Moreover, Climate Trace says it has incorporated new data from studies of satellite-detected emissions covering practices like flaring and methane leakage in Russia, Turkmenistan, the US and the Middle East.

“The climate crisis can, at times, feel like an intractable challenge – in large part because we’ve had a limited understanding of precisely where emissions are coming from,” said former US Vice President and Climate Trace founding member Al Gore in a statement. “This level of granularity means that we finally have emissions data that enable us to act decisively.”

Power plants alone represent more than half of the emissions and three-fifths of the assets in the top 500 list. The largest emitter among the power plants was the 5.5 GW Taichung coal-fired plant in Taiwan which was ranked 19th of all assets.

Meanwhile, 26 of the 50 largest sources of emissions worldwide are oil and gas fields and their associated production, processing, and transportation sites, according to Climate TRACE.

‘Oversupply of LNG’

Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker (CAT) has warned that potential “oversupply of LNG” as a response to the energy crisis could jeopardize Europe’s climate targets in the longer term.

In 2030, oversupply of LNG could reach 500 megatonnes of LNG, equivalent to almost five times the EU’s 2021 Russian gas imports, the agency announced at the sidelines of the COP 27 summit. This could lead to excess emissions of just under two gigatonnes of CO2/year in 2030, well above emission levels consistent with the IEA Net Zero by 2050 scenario (2022).

“The energy crisis has taken over the climate crisis, and our analysis shows proposed, approved and under construction LNG far exceeds what’s needed to replace Russian gas,” said Bill Hare, CEO of CAT partner organisation Climate Analytics in a statement.

Contact the editor:

Eric Thorp
[email protected]

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