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BP, Environmental Defense Fund team up to reduce oil and gas methane emissions

BP PLC and the Environmental Defense Fund have teamed up to improve practices and technologies to cut methane emissions from global oil and natural gas supply networks, according to a March 13 news release.

Under the agreement, the pair plans to work with third-party experts and universities to test technologies and find strategies that advance emissions monitoring across the industry. BP will assist with funding these projects.

The collaborative effort will focus in 2019 on pushing technology advancements, such as drone-based methane monitoring; integrating methane management with digital technologies, including artificial intelligence; and looking to expand the industry's emissions monitoring and reduction efforts, the Environmental Defense Fund, or EDF, said.

''BP's commitment to push the next frontier of methane technology and practice is important to prove out solutions that oil and gas companies can use to accelerate emission reductions. The scale of the methane challenge is enormous, but so is the opportunity," Fred Krupp, EDF's president, said in a statement. "Whether natural gas can play a constructive role in the energy transition depends on aggressive measures to reduce emissions that include methane."

Energy companies have been looking into lowering methane emissions to limit their environmental impacts, as methane has 84 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide in a 20-year time span.

The partnership also aims to prompt broader, sector-wide conversations about best practices for emissions monitoring and reduction. The EDF highlighted 2018 findings that companies with methane reduction targets can amplify the effects of these targets by supporting emissions reductions in joint venture projects with other oil and gas operators. BP is targeting a methane intensity of 0.2% and holding it below 0.3%.

EDF will not receive funding from BP. The environmental group has policies in place prohibiting it from accepting payments from energy companies or corporate stakeholders, the EDF news release said.

"EDF and BP don't agree on everything, but we're finding common ground on methane," Krupp said.