Oil and gas operations worldwide emitted almost 70 million tonnes of methane into the atmosphere in 2020.
That’s according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which estimates that this amount is equivalent to the total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions of the European Union.
Methane emissions are the second largest cause of global warming.
According to the report, oil production is responsible for almost 40% of methane emissions today with the remaining 60% coming from the natural gas value chain.
The organisation said the methane emissions figure for 2020 is 10% lower than the estimate it had for 2019.
The decrease in large-scale leaks is mainly attributed to the drop in oil and gas production due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The satellite data suggests Russia, the US, Iraq and Turkmenistan have the largest levels of total methane emissions amongst oil and gas producers in 2020.
IEA warns the world needs ‘steady and rapid’ fall in emissions in the next ten years to be able to reach climate targets – on the body’s sustainable scenario, by 2030, methane emissions are around 70% lower than in 2020.
This reduction would be equivalent to eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from all the cars and trucks across Asia.