Press Release

UN Turkmenistan facilitates UNEP training for Turkmen officials on harnessing methane opportunity

23 January 2023

  • UN Turkmenistan has organized a two-day training in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to assist Turkmenistan harness the power of methane emissions reduction in the hybrid mode.

The event brought together managers, specialists, regulators and employees from the national oil and gas industry of Turkmenistan and enabled the learners to generate a better understanding of the need to pursue strategic actions in methane management and the ways to mitigate methane emissions in the country.

“We are delighted to offer this training today on harnessing the methane opportunity in Turkmenistan because Turkmenistan has one of the greatest potentials for low-cost methane reduction. It has, therefore, a pivotal role to play to rein in climate change.” - noted UN Resident Coordinator Dmitry Shlapachenko during the opening remarks of the meeting.

The training started by the presentation of Marci Baranski, PhD, Programme Management Officer at UNEP. She talked about the role of the International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO), a UNEP initiative that drives action on methane. She highlighted the importance of methane reduction to close the emissions gap and the urgent need for better data to target strategic mitigation actions and identify science-based policy options to cut methane at the pace needed to achieve the Paris Agreement. Dr. Baranski also discussed the role of the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership 2.0 (OGMP 2.0), UNEP’s flagship oil and gas reporting and mitigation programme.

During the meeting, Olga Gasan-zade, Senior Advisor of Carbon Limits company and Expert with a focus on climate change mitigation, presented the best practices and experiences in reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas industry, as well as methods of methane emissions detection, measurement techniques and quantification. The expert mentioned that methane’s warming potential is more than 80 times higher than of carbon dioxide for the 20-year period. At the same time investments to reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas are much lower than in agriculture.

Vladimir Valetka, RCO Economist, reiterated the International Energy Agency Methane Tracker’s estimation that over half of methane emissions in Turkmenistan could be reduced at no net cost. The estimated volume of the country’s methane emissions amounting to around 5 million metric tonnes in 2021 could be transformed into 77 billion kilowatt-hours (TWh) of electricity. At a price of Turkmenistan’s electricity export the lost potential monetary benefit is over US $ 2,1 billion which is equivalent to 3.4% of the country’s GDP in 2021.

In the second half of the event, Meghan Demeter, Consultant at UNEP,  introduced the participants to IMEO’s Methane Alert and Response System (MARS). MARS is the first global system connecting satellite methane detection to transparent notification processes that promotes on-the-ground emissions mitigation efforts. MARS harnesses state-of-the-art satellite data to identify major emissions events, activate its partners to notify relevant stakeholders, and support and track progress towards mitigation.

At the end of the meeting, the participants had an opportunity to take part at Q&A session to gain more knowledge from the experts and to inform on the actions taken by the Government of Turkmenistan in the area of methane mitigation in the country. The potential next steps were brainstormed, including on informing international community on Turkmenistan’s current efforts in reducing methane emissions and expanding the training to bring together technical specialists from the sector, economists and environmentalists.

Following the training consultations, the UNEP experts expressed their willingness to collaborate with the Government of Turkmenistan through the  International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO), to bring forward complementary initiatives to curb methane emissions in the country and address the challenges faced in the way forward through innovative solutions and priority areas in the future.

Chary Nurmuhammedov

Chary Nurmuhammedov

Strategic Planning and RCO Team Leader

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United Nations Environment Programme

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