FSUOGM: All eyes on Turkmenistan's methane emissions
Turkmenistan, blessed with ample natural gas reserves but cursed with insufficient access to markets, has for decades been trying to advance ambitious pipeline projects to supply its resources to Asia and Europe. Whether or not those aspirations will ever be realised is a big question. But the reclusive Central Asian country has another, quite pressing, problem.
In recent years there has been growing attention in the climate change movement regarding the impact of methane emissions. Depending on how long a period that the gas is in the atmosphere one is considering, it is estimated that methane is up to 80 times more potent a greenhouse gas (GHG) than CO2. And there has been a near constant flow of news reports over the last two years about the substantial amount of methane that Turkmenistan is emitting.
Most of these reports are based on data released by satellite operator Kayrros. The company has reported countless “super-emitter” events occurring in the country. It is estimated by Kayrros that Turkmenistan’s main two oil and gas basins caused more global heating from methane emissions than the entire carbon emissions of the UK in 2022. Kayrros has reported that in that year, Turkmenistan, the US and Russia were responsible for the biggest super emitters. The biggest event was a leak of 427 tonnes per year (tpy) in August 2022, at a site near Turkmenistan’s Caspian shore.
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