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EU, representatives, agree on methane emissions limits on gas imports

Robert Besser
18 Nov 2023

BRUSSELS, Belgium: To pressure international suppliers to reduce leaks of the potent greenhouse gas, on Wednesday, the European Union (EU) reached a deal on a law to implement methane emissions limits on Europe's oil and gas imports from 2030.

After carbon dioxide, methane is the second-leading cause of climate change and has a far higher warming effect in the short term.

Methane leaches into the atmosphere from leaky pipelines and infrastructure at oil and gas fields.

In a statement, the council of the EU, which represents member states, said that representatives of EU countries and the European Parliament agreed to impose "maximum methane intensity values" by 2030 on producers abroad sending fossil fuels into Europe.

The import rules are likely to hit major gas suppliers, including the US, Algeria, and Russia.

Jutta Paulus, the EU Parliament's co-lead negotiator, said, "Finally, the EU tackles the second most important greenhouse gas with ambitious measures."

The law "will have repercussions worldwide," she added.

The law will now be put to the European Parliament and EU countries for final approval, usually a formality for approving pre-agreed deals.

The regulation also introduces new requirements for the oil, gas, and coal sectors to measure, report, and verify methane emissions and obliges European oil and gas producers to regularly monitor and repair leaks of greenhouse gases.

Under the new regulation, most cases of flaring and venting, when companies intentionally burn off or release unwanted methane into the atmosphere, will also be banned from 2025 or 2027, depending on the type of infrastructure.

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