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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme



A new technical review from IEAGHG summarising the current research on the reducing emissions from the natural gas supply chain.


This technical review has been undertaken with the aim of providing a summary of the current status of research into greenhouse gas emissions in the natural gas supply chain. Although 90% or more of the CO2 produced at gas fired power plants can be captured, emissions from the supply chain may reduce the near-zero-emission image of gas as an energy source.



Emissions are predominantly from two sources:

  1. Methane emissions during production and also fugitive emissions during transport.
  2. CO2 emissions from gas production installations, gas purification plants, pipeline compressors, LNG liquefaction plants, ships and receiving terminals.

This is a literature review focusing on research that has been conducted on emissions in the natural gas supply chain. The review aims to look at how the quantities emitted are calculated and how assessments are conducted at each part of the supply chain.


Assessments are also made in the literature as to how these might change, e.g. due to the greater production of shale gas, the use of long-distance pipelines and the use of LNG/gas with high CO2 concentrations and the impact this may have on emissions. A variety of techniques are available to reduce methane and CO2 emissions substantially from the supply chain which have been looked at in numerous studies.


The review concluded that further work is still required on how to calculate CO2 emissions estimates with a variety of studies using a different techniques for their emissions calculations. This makes synthesising and comparing data difficult. A majority of the data collected to date has been in the U.S and more data is required to identify emissions sources in the gas supply chain globally. More work is also required on how to reduce emissions after key emissions sources have been identified and successfully quantified.

The report is free to download.