The European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional agreement on the new EU Methane Regulation aimed at reducing methane emissions from the energy sector and monitoring and limiting emissions associated with imported energy sources, as reported by Bloomberg on November 15. The law mandates regular reporting on methane emissions and surveys to detect and repair leaks for energy firms in the EU, banning routine venting and flaring of methane. It also limits venting from thermal coal mines from 2027 and requires an inventory of closed, inactive, plugged, and abandoned assets to monitor and mitigate emissions. Particularly, the regulation requires from 2027 that new import contracts for oil, gas, and coal can be only concluded if the same monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) obligations are applied by exporters as for EU producers. From 2030, penalties will be issued for imports that are above a methane intensity threshold.
The EU Methane Regulation was first proposed in December 2021, representing the EU’s first-ever legislation to curb harmful methane emissions in the energy sector. Scientists believe reducing methane emissions is one of the cheapest and fastest ways to slow down global warming as it has much more potent warming power than carbon dioxide. However, the European Commission stressed the importance of having accurate, source-level, methane emissions data for countries and industries to make meaningful progress in curbing methane emissions. Under the new regulation, the Commission will establish a methane transparency database in 2026 for public access to emissions data from importers and EU operators.