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Mastering methane: How Nigeria and Clean Air Task Force are taking on methane pollution together

January 30, 2024 Work Area: Methane

In 2022, the U.S., UK, and EU jointly launched the Global Methane Pledge (GMP), an international commitment aimed at achieving a collective 30 percent reduction in methane emissions by 2030. The GMP stands as the most significant global effort to date to address and curb methane emissions and have gained widespread support — with over 120 countries, including Nigeria, joining the pledge. Nigeria, with help from Clean Air Task Force (CATF), has translated its ambition into concrete actions to become a pivotal participant in the global push for methane reduction.  

Methane, recognized as a harmful super pollutant, possesses a warming potential over 80 times greater than carbon dioxide over its initial 20 years in the atmosphere. Responsible for half a degree Celsius of global warming to date, methane levels are rapidly increasing. Given its short-lived nature, reducing methane emissions emerges as a critical strategy to mitigate global warming in the short term. The collaborative efforts between CATF and Nigeria represent a significant stride towards addressing this urgent environmental challenge on the international stage.  

Nigeria and CATF’s journey to methane reduction  

CATF initiated its involvement in Nigeria in 2019, with support from the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). Through collaborative partnerships with the Nigerian government, including the Federal Ministry of Environment and Nigeria’s oil and gas regulator, CATF embarked on a series of capacity-building workshops and small working groups with the goal of enhancing Nigeria’s national inventory for methane emissions and laying the groundwork for comprehensive policy development.  

These efforts have yielded several successes:  

  • In 2021, Nigeria incorporated a specific methane reduction target of 61% for the oil and gas sector in its updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).  
  • At COP27 in 2022, the newly formed Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), published its Methane Guidelines, signaling a significant step towards achieving substantial emissions reductions in the upstream oil and gas sector.  

Our work in 2022 and 2023 

CATF has since continued its work with the Nigerian government. Between 2022 and 2023, CATF collaborated with NUPRC to host a series of workshops in Abuja, Nigeria, aimed at advancing methane emissions reduction strategies within the nation’s oil and gas industry. The workshops, funded under the CCAC, represented a pioneering effort in Africa and unfolded with meticulous planning and meaningful engagement.  

Workshop 1: “Implementation of Methane Emissions Reduction Guidelines” (July 26, 2023)  

This inaugural workshop, held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, brought together over 80 stakeholders from diverse sectors, including the NMDPRA, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC Limited), and others. The primary goal was to sensitize and mobilize participants on the strategies for implementing guidelines aimed at reducing methane emissions in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. Notable participants included representatives from Carbon Limits Nigeria (CLN), an integral part of the organizing committee.  

Workshop on the Implementation of Methane Emissions Reduction Guidelines (July 26, 2023)

The workshop’s agenda featured a welcome address by NUPRC’s Executive Commissioner for Health, Safety, Environment, and Community (HSEC). Key presentations by Mohammed Dahiru Aminu and James Ogunleye of CATF and CLN, respectively, delved into the overview and implementation strategy of the methane guidelines. Ibrahim Muhammad Illo of NUPRC presented the implementation status, emphasizing the regulator’s role in encouraging adherence to the guidelines. The workshop concluded with a feedback and Q&A session, fostering interaction, and addressing concerns from both public and private sector participants.  

Workshop 2: “Use of Country Methane Abatement Tool (CoMAT) for Stakeholders in the Public Sector” (January 10, 2024)  

This second workshop, hosted at Yanna Apartments, Abuja, targeted stakeholders from the public sector. With 23 participants in attendance, the focus was on illustrating the utilization of the Country Methane Abatement Tool (CoMAT) to quantify emissions from Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. Opening remarks by NUPRC set the tone for presentations by Mohammed Dahiru Aminu, Lesley Feldman of CATF, and Philippe Jolly, the CoMAT product development lead. These presentations outlined CoMAT as a customizable tool, using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s methodology, and demonstrated its application to calculate methane emissions specifically for Nigeria. Participants engaged in a hands-on exercise, providing valuable feedback to enhance the tool’s functionality.  

Workshop on the Use of Country Methane Abatement Tool (CoMAT) for stakeholders in the Public Sector (January 10, 2024)

Workshop 3: “Demonstration of Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) Techniques and Oil and Gas Methane Baseline Development” (January 11, 2024) 

The third and final workshop, held at The Envoy Hotel in Abuja, brought together 87 participants from the public and private sectors of the oil and gas industry. The workshop’s objectives included demonstrating Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) techniques and assessing their efficiency as per methane guidelines, along with showcasing oil and gas methane baseline development and mitigation program implementation. David Picard of Clearstone Engineering Limited presented LDAR techniques, generating significant interest among participants. CATF representatives, Mohammed Dahiru Aminu and Lesley Feldman, addressed oil and gas methane baseline development, emphasizing its alignment with global best practices, including lessons from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP 2.0) national emissions inventory and reporting requirements.  

Workshop on the Demonstration of Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) Techniques and Oil and Gas Methane Baseline Development (January 11, 2024)

Impact and future support  

The workshops, a pioneering initiative in Africa, were instrumental in drawing attention to methane emissions reduction strategies in Nigeria. By engaging diverse stakeholders, the workshops facilitated robust discussions and provided a platform for effective implementation of regulations. CATF, committed to supporting Nigeria’s methane reduction journey, pledged ongoing technical and policy support. The workshops not only highlighted the significance of collaboration but also laid the groundwork for a sustainable and environmentally conscious future in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. As the nation progresses towards achieving its NDC targets, these workshops stand as a testament to the transformative power of knowledge and collaboration in combating climate change.  

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