BP and the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) have announced a three-year strategic commitment to reduce methane emissions from global oil and gas operations on Wednesday, 13 March.

The agreement will enable collaboration on projects to develop strategies and technologies for improving methane management, working alongside universities and third-party experts to “help the entire oil and gas industry significantly reduce this potent greenhouse gas” according to BP.

Non-profit environmental advocacy group EDF will not receive funding from BP, in line with its policy against receiving funds from corporate collaborators and energy companies. Instead, BP will provide financial support for third-party analytical and technological projects identified by the collaboration.

BP upstream chief executive Bernard Looney said: “BP is taking a leading role in addressing methane emissions, and this collaboration with EDF is another important step forward for us and for our industry.”

“We’ve made great progress driving down emissions across our own business, including meeting our industry-leading methane intensity target of 0.2%, but there is much more work to do and partnering with the committed and capable team at EDF will help us develop and share best practices.”

The collaboration will focus on three areas in 2019: advancing technological breakthroughs through a $500,000 grant to Colorado State University, leveraging digital technologies to integrate methane management to oil and gas operations and expanding methane management to increase understanding of best practices.

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In February, EDF outlined ways in which the oil and gas industry could use digital technologies to reduce methane emissions in a paper entitled Fuelling a Digital Methane Future.

EDF president Fred Krupp said: “BP’s commitment to push the next frontier of methane technology and practice is important to prove out solutions that oil and gas companies can use to accelerate emission reductions.

“The scale of the methane challenge is enormous, but so is the opportunity. Whether natural gas can play a constructive role in the energy transition depends on aggressive measures to reduce emissions that include methane.”

“BP took such a step today. EDF and BP don’t agree on everything, but we’re finding common ground on methane. BP has shown early ambition to lead on methane technology. We hope to see more as BP delivers on its own stringent methane goal and we work together to spread solutions industry-wide.”

On Tuesday, 12 March, an investigation by Greenpeace’s investigative journalism project Unearthed revealed that BP opposed and helped reverse key climate regulations on methane emissions in the US multiple times in recent years.