Gazprom has admitted responsibility for the world’s largest methane pipeline leak in almost two years, Bloomberg reported.
Russia’s largest gas company said 2.7 million cubic meters of methane were emitted during emergency repairs to a gas pipeline in Russia’s central Tatarstan republic.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas which scientists say results in a much more immediate and short-term impact on global temperatures than carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. While CO2 emissions can stay in the atmosphere for centuries, the Scientific American science journal has described methane as “warming the planet on steroids for a decade or two” — during which time it can be up to 86 times more harmful than CO2.
The emissions leak occurred on June 4 and was first detected by environmental monitoring firm Kayrros, Bloomberg reported. It is the largest detected pipeline leak since September 2019.
In a research note, VTB Capital analyst Dmitry Loukashov said the leak was unlikely to lead to any “substantial financial or operational consequences,” even though the company is set to incur a fine in line with Russia’s environmental regulations.
He added, however, that the emissions come at a time of heightened pressure on global energy companies to do more to cut their harmful greenhouse gas emissions and could lead to “negative sentiment” among investors toward the company.
Russia’s economy is heavily reliant on oil and gas revenues, but Gazprom is banking on natural gas becoming a favored transition fuel as the developed world accelerates its decarbonization efforts and moves away from more polluting energy sources such as coal and oil.