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Importers to see methane emission scrutiny from 2027

(Montel) Companies importing coal, gas and oil to the EU will have to show that the associated methane emissions are monitored from 2027 under draft rules approved by the European Parliament's environment committee on Thursday.

Imports make up over 80% of the oil and gas used in the EU, and importers would have to show there were monitoring, reporting and verification processes for them equivalent to those applied to EU production.

This would be mandatory for all contracts concluded or renewed after the rules enter into force, which is likely to be later this year.

For all other contracts, importers would have to show regulators they have made “reasonable efforts” to require monitoring, reporting and verification, along with “sound justification” if this had not happened.

The European Commission would also have to propose more detailed, technical rules within three years of the draft rules entering into force setting out how to calculate the methane intensity of coal, gas and oil imports at production level.

Maximum values
The EC would then develop maximum methane intensity values to apply to gas, coal and oil imports, intended to promote global methane emissions reductions while preserving the EU’s supply security.

By six years after the rules enter into force, companies would have to show that their imports had a methane intensity below those maximums.

However, environmental group CAN Europe criticised the draft rules for being “far too little, too late”, especially given that methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

“Delaying action and allowing methane emissions from non-EU producers… to remain dangerously high until 2030 poses a serious risk to our climate,” said Esther Bollendorf, CAN Europe’s senior gas policy expert.

She called for the EC to be ambitious in its technical rules and for national governments to implement them quickly.

Next steps
The draft rules approved today still need to be approved by the full parliament in a vote expected in mid-March, and by the EU Council of ministers, representing national governments, before they can enter into force.

This is a formality as the parliament and council already agreed the rules informally in November.