Illustration; Source: Vår Energi

Vår Energi shifts methane reduction efforts into higher gear as it comes aboard UN-led program

Norway’s oil and gas player Vår Energi has joined an initiative spearheaded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to improve the accuracy and transparency of methane emissions reporting.  

Illustration; Source: Vår Energi

The Norwegian firm is the latest addition to nearly 140 oil and gas companies in the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP 2.0), including Austria’s OMV which joined a month ago, aiming to reduce their methane footprint by improving emissions reporting. With assets in more than 70 countries on five continents, these companies represent over 40% of the world’s oil and gas production.

The partnership brings together oil and gas companies and UNEP, the European Commission (EC), the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Clean Air Task Force (CATF), the World Bank, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). Originally launched at the UN Climate Summit in 2014 as the OGMP, it was renamed OGMP 2.0 when the program’s scope and ambition increased in November 2020.

Ellen Waldeland Hoddell, Vår Energi’s Executive Vice President (EVP) Safety & Sustainability, noted that her company’s decarbonization plan includes targeting methane emissions in 2024 to be “near zero”, adding that the industry target of 0.2% by 2025 was reached in Q1 2024.

“Nevertheless, further reduction is a key part of the road map we use as a guide in the effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Vår Energi is already linked to the global initiative Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), aiming for Zero Methane Emissions. Now we’re taking yet another important step, joining with the UNEP, EU and other major oil and gas companies in the work to achieve additional emission reductions,” said Hoddell.

The Norwegian player claims that its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts have already been recognized as it was added to the ‘Top Ranked Company’ category by Sustainalytics and included in the Oslo Stock Exchange (OBX) ESG index.  

The firm hopes that membership in the OGMP 2.0 will provide a basis for the methane-related requirements that the EU’s methane strategy is expected to introduce. In a bid to slash operating costs and emissions by disposing of non-strategic assets, Vår Energi recently decided to sell a 20% stake in the Bøyla field to Concedo, as well as interests in five oil and gas fields in the Norwegian Sea to DNO Norge.

While decarbonization efforts are commendable, they come with a hefty price tag. The International Energy Agency (IEA) calculated that curbing the fossil fuel industry’s methane footprint by 75% this decade could cost about $170 billion.

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