Clean Air Task Force (CATF), an international climate advocacy NGO, and 2Celcius, a Romanian NGO, filmed significant and previously undocumented methane emissions from oil and gas facilities in Romania,CATF said on August 25, noting the that the groups toured facilities in Romania on June 7-17.
“Romania has significant problems with its oil and gas production infrastructure and is a leading emitter of methane in the EU,” 2Celcius Executive Director Mihai Stoica said. “These problems will not be resolved overnight, but we must start working on them now. The climate can no longer wait,” he added.
According to CATF, the sites toured include locations involved in oil and gas production and transmission owned or operated by Conpet, OMV Petrom, Tranzgas, and a few others. They visited approximately 50 sites in total and documented methane emissions at all these sites.
Methane pollution has gained increased attention thanks to the UN’s most recent climate report, which dominated headlines earlier this month. For the first time ever, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlighted the fact that we must dramatically cut global methane emissions, as well as carbon dioxide, in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.
This latest batch of videos joins a growing collection of evidence of methane pollution discovered by CATF in the EU at over 220 oil and gas facilities across 11 European countries, and points to the desperate need for a EU level solution.
“With the IPCC’s recent findings, we know that the planet cannot afford further delays to action on methane,” said Jonathan Banks, CATF’s international director, Super Pollutants. “Cutting methane pollution is the only way to substantially slow warming in the next 20 years. That tells you how crucial the European Commission’s upcoming Methane Strategy is, both within the EU and around the world.”
Methane has a greenhouse effect that is about 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period and is responsible for at least 25% of global heating. In addition, methane emissions have been rising much faster than anticipated by the Paris Agreement targets.
Romania is one of the few major European producers of oil and gas, as most fossil fuels consumed within the EU are imported. Legislation, under the auspices of the Methane Strategy, designed to rein in methane is being written in Brussels right now, but implementation will fall on member states like Romania.
“Methane emissions in the oil and gas sector in Romania are widespread,” said James Turitto, CATF’s campaign manager, Super Pollutants. “But it’s important to remember the emissions we’ve documented are far from unique. Everywhere we’ve been in Europe, we’ve seen methane pollution from oil & gas facilities. We need robust policy at the EU level to ensure all countries are committing to cutting methane emissions,” he added.
EU leadership on methane can be a powerful incentive for countries around the world to step up. Europe is the world’s largest importer of both oil and gas, and even under the most aggressive decarbonization scenarios, gas will be part of the European energy system for some time, CATF said, adding that strong policies to address methane emissions from any fuels produced or consumed in Europe – including emissions from production outside of Europe – will help ensure that Europe can meet its goal of being truly climate neutral.