The research outputs from the The Methane and Environment Programme (MEP) have already had a positive impact on industry and policy makers in a variety of ways.

Here are some examples of where our research and expertise has been used to guide decisions on reducing emissions:

  • MEP played a key role in the development of the ‘Guiding Principles of Methane’, an agreement signed by eight of the largest oil and gas companies to commit to monitor and reduce supply chain emissions in November 2017.
  • Our work has been cited by the UK Committee on Climate Change report on the compatability of UK onshore oil and gas development with climate targets (July 2016) and the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies report on methane emissions (July 2017).
  • We also contributed to, and were cited by, the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook special report on natural gas (November 2017).
  • The Programme has advised the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
  • Internationally, we have presented at the European Parliament on methane emissions from the energy industry in 2018, and the UN Palais de Nations for the UNECE Group of Experts on Gas in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
  • Dr Paul Balcombe gave the keynote presentation at the International Gas Union Methane Emissions Conference in London, March 2017.

Since the programme began in 2015, we have produced a set of key research outputs including white papers, journal articles and presentations.

White papers

Balcombe, P., Anderson, K., Speirs, J., Brandon, N., and Hawkes A. (2015) ‘Methane & CO2 emissions from the natural gas supply chain report’ Sustainable Gas Institute, Imperial College London.

The Sustainable Gas Institute’s first White Paper is a comprehensive evidence-based review of the available data on both methane and carbon dioxide emissions from the natural supply chain. The paper provides recommendations with the aim of assessing and improving climate mitigation potential at each stage in the chain.



BibTex format

author = {Balcombe, P and Speirs, J and Johnson, E and Martin, J and Brandon, N and Hawkes, A},
doi = {10.1016/j.rser.2018.04.089},
journal = {Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews},
pages = {1077--1088},
title = {The carbon credentials of hydrogen gas networks and supply chains},
url = {},
volume = {91},
year = {2018}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Projections of decarbonisation pathways have typically involved reducing dependence on natural gas grids via greater electrification of heat using heat pumps or even electric heaters. However, many technical, economic and consumer barriers to electrification of heat persist. The gas network holds value in relation to flexibility of operation, requiring simpler control and enabling less expensive storage. There may be value in retaining and repurposing gas infrastructure where there are feasible routes to decarbonisation. This study quantifies and analyses the decarbonisation potential associated with the conversion of gas grids to deliver hydrogen, focusing on supply chains. Routes to produce hydrogen for gas grids are categorised as: reforming natural gas with (or without) carbon capture and storage (CCS); gasification of coal with (or without) CCS; gasification of biomass with (or without) CCS; electrolysis using low carbon electricity. The overall range of greenhouse gas emissions across routes is extremely large, from − 371 to 642 gCO 2 eq/kW h H2 . Therefore, when including supply chain emissions, hydrogen can have a range of carbon intensities and cannot be assumed to be low carbon. Emissions estimates for natural gas reforming with CCS lie in the range of 23–150 g/kW h H2 , with CCS typically reducing CO 2 emissions by 75%. Hydrogen from electrolysis ranges from 24 to 178 gCO 2 eq/kW h H2 for renewable electricity sources, where wind electricity results in the lowest CO 2 emissions. Solar PV electricity typically exhibits higher emissions and varies significantly by geographical region. The emissions from upstream supply chains is a major contributor to total emissions and varies considerably across different routes to hydrogen. Biomass gasification is characterised by very large negative emissions in the supply chain and very large positive emissions in the gasification process. Therefore, improvements in total emissions are large if even small i
AU - Balcombe,P
AU - Speirs,J
AU - Johnson,E
AU - Martin,J
AU - Brandon,N
AU - Hawkes,A
DO - 10.1016/j.rser.2018.04.089
EP - 1088
PY - 2018///
SN - 1364-0321
SP - 1077
TI - The carbon credentials of hydrogen gas networks and supply chains
T2 - Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
UR -
UR -
VL - 91
ER -