Wintershall Dea reinforces the “Aiming for Zero Methane Emissions Initiative”

Hamburg/ Kassel
Wintershall Dea Zero methane emissions
Wintershall Dea Zero methane emissions
Wintershall Dea/Tristan Vankann
  • Mario Mehren: “We will strive to further reduce the methane emissions of our industry as quickly as possible.”
  • Wintershall Dea has launched a global leak detection and repair (LDAR) campaign

Rapidly reducing methane emissions is an essential tool for mitigating climate change and achieving global climate goals. “The gas and oil industry, too, must and will make its contribution here. At Wintershall Dea, we have already been very consistently reducing the methane emissions from our production activities for several years,” says Mario Mehren, CEO of Wintershall Dea. Europe’s largest independent gas and oil producer is now reinforcing the international Aiming for Zero Methane Emissions Initiative, whose backers also include companies like bp, Chevron, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Petrobras and Shell. “We share the conviction that much of our industry’s methane emissions can and should be avoided,” Mehren adds.

The Aiming for Zero Methane Emissions Initiative is taking an all-in approach and demonstrating the willingness of its signatories to take climate protection as seriously as the oil and gas industry takes safety: The target is “zero”, and all members strive to achieve this goal. The initiative also calls for concrete technology-related measures, such as with venting and flaring, but also for transparent and regular reporting of methane emissions. At the same time, it supplements other voluntary initiatives, such as the Methane Guiding Principles and the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership 2.0 (OGMP 2.0), both of which Wintershall Dea is already participating in.

Why reducing methane emissions is so important

Unlike CO2, methane is rapidly broken down in the atmosphere. But in the first 20 years following its release, methane has a warming potential more than 80 times greater than that of CO2. Given the urgent need to combat climate change and to slow global warming, rapidly reducing methane emissions is of critical importance. Methane emissions resulting from oil and gas activities are responsible for almost 6 per cent of total methane emissions in the EU.

Global LDAR campaign launched

In order to effectively reduce methane emissions, it is crucial to have precise information about the quantities emitted and the sources of emissions. For this reason, Wintershall Dea launched a global leak detection and repair (LDAR) campaign in 2021 to further reduce emissions. LDAR will make it possible to detect and quickly plug even the smallest leaks. “We started the campaign in Germany and have just completed most of the measurements. Now we are analysing the results in order to get even better and to work in a targeted manner on additional reductions,” says Hugo Dijkgraaf, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Wintershall Dea. Working together with external service providers, 100 per cent of the processing facilities (with roughly 500,000 connections) in the operated assets in Germany were inspected for possible methane emissions. Only very few leaks were found, and all of them were small; the majority could be repaired immediately, and the rest will be repaired during upcoming maintenance work.

The campaign will now be advanced on a global level. “We plan to anchor LDAR as an element of our routine maintenance in all plants and to inspect them completely at least once a year. This will enable us to detect and repair any potential leaks,” Dijkgraaf explains. It is equally important, he added, to capture and use associated gas and to avoid flaring of this gas or to reduce it to the absolute minimum that is technically required (e.g. for safety reasons).

About Wintershall Dea

Wintershall Dea is Europe’s leading independent natural gas and oil company with more than 120 years of experience as an operator and project partner along the entire E&P value chain. The company with German roots and headquarters in Kassel and Hamburg explores for and produces gas and oil in 13 countries worldwide in an efficient and responsible manner. With activities in Europe, Russia, Latin America and the MENA region (Middle East & North Africa), Wintershall Dea has a global upstream portfolio and, with its participation in natural gas transport, is also active in the midstream business. More in our Annual Report.

As a European gas and oil company, we support the EU’s 2050 carbon neutrality target. As our contribution, we have set ourselves ambitious targets: We want to be net zero across our entire upstream operations – both operated and non-operated – by 2030. This includes Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) greenhouse gas emissions on an equity share basis. In addition, Wintershall Dea will bring methane emissions intensity below 0.1 per cent by 2025 and maintain zero routine flaring of associated gas in its operations. The climate goals are to be achieved through portfolio optimization, emissions reduction through more energy efficiency, investments in nature-based compensation solutions and in future technologies, such as hydrogen and CCS. You can find more about this in our Sustainability Report.

Wintershall Dea was formed from the merger of Wintershall Holding GmbH and DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG in 2019. Today, the company employs around 2,500 people worldwide from almost 60 nations.

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