Mexico’s opportunity to cut oil and gas methane

ICF report: low-cost fixes available to significantly cut greenhouse gases

Report published October 2015

Adding to EDF's set of reports profiling global opportunities to curb methane emissions, an analysis conducted by industry research firm ICF International shows that Mexico's oil and gas industry can cut 54 percent of its emissions of methane – the primary ingredient in natural gas and a highly potent greenhouse gas – using low-cost, readily available control measures.

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The oil and gas sector is one of Mexico's largest sources of methane, with emissions from offshore operations, oil production and gathering accounting for 84 percent of that total. ICF reported sizable reductions are possible for Mexico by 2020, if cost-effective technologies and operating practices are used by industry to capture methane from key sources along the supply chain.

EDF commissioned the ICF report and released it in partnership with the Mario Molina Center. The report is based on data from Mexican Government Agencies, including Mexican Ministry of Energy (SENER), Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex). Where no Mexican data existed, supplementary data from U.S. studies was used.

Key findings of ICF's report

  1. Industry could cut methane emissions by 54 percent by adopting available emissions-control technologies and operating practices. The costs of these reductions are small, adding less than one cent (MXN) per thousand cubic feet of produced gas. In certain cases cost efficiencies are so high because controls pay for themselves over time through the sale of captured natural gas.
  2. The analysis shows that 90 percent of the emissions in the next five years will come from sources in operation today, and that the 54 per cent reduction across Mexico is in addition to reductions that are achievable by current regulatory and projected voluntary actions by 2020.
  3. ICF reported upstream methane emissions in Mexico could be reduced by 54 per cent for $0.79 MXN per CO2 metric ton.
  4. At no extra costs, curbing methane emissions also reduces conventional pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants that can harm public health and the environment.

This new analysis complements other research EDF is engaged in to help advance methane science and provide deeper understanding of methane emissions from the oil and gas supply chain, in order to inform policymakers about opportunities to reduce methane emissions.

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