Exxon Mobil has urged the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to retain the methane gas emission rules implemented by the previous Obama administration.

The company has opposed a move proposed by the current administration of US President Donald Trump in September to relax the rules associated with repairing leaks of greenhouse gas in drilling activities.

The Obama-era rule was aimed at tackling climate change.

In a letter sent by the company to EPA and cited by Reuters, Exxon Mobil vice-president Gantt Walton said: “We support maintaining the key elements of the underlying regulation such as leak detection and repair programmes.”

“We support maintaining the key elements of the underlying regulation such as leak detection and repair programmes.”

The letter added that Exxon Mobil considers that ‘reasonable regulations help reduce emissions’ and encourage the use of environmentally friendly natural gas.

Methane is the main component of natural gas gets leaked from oil and gas wells during drilling. It is estimated to form 10% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the US.

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Compared to carbon dioxide, methane has more than 80 times the heat-trapping properties in the first 20 years when it is released into the air.

In September, the EPA unveiled its proposed substitute for the Obama-era rule on methane leaks at oil and gas sites.

However, the agency admitted that revoking these rules would help release 380,000t of additional methane into the atmosphere by 2025, reported the Guardian.

The estimate roughly equates to more than 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.