Massive methane leaks in Turkmenistan

Briefly: Methane leaks from two of Turkmenistan’s oil and gas fields emitted the equivalent of 366 million tonnes of CO2 last year, according to satellite data.

That’s more carbon than the entire United Kingdom emits in a year.

The good news: Turkmenistan could apparently address the leaks by fixing just 29 pieces of ageing equipment. That’d also mean more product getting to market, and more cash reaching Turkmenistan’s coffers.

Intrigue’s take: Now that satellite tech has unveiled the scale of the problem, the question is whether Turkmenistan will care. It’s an energy-rich and hermetic place that’s long shrugged off criticism from abroad. And so long as the world keeps buying the country’s gas, it’s hard to see that changing.

Also worth noting:

  • China receives more natural gas from Turkmenistan than any other country, and plans to double its imports in coming years.
  • The United Arab Emirates signed a gas deal with Turkmenistan in February. It’ll host the next UN climate change summit later this year
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