By Ron Bousso
LONDON (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil joined European peers including Royal Dutch Shell and Total in a new initiative to find ways to reduce potent emissions in their rapidly growing natural gas operations.
BP, Italy's Eni, Exxon, Spain's Repsol, Shell, Norway's Statoil, Total and Wintershall "committed to further reduce methane emissions from the natural gas assets," they said in a joint statement.
Methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, is released during the extraction, processing and transporting of natural gas.
For example, around 10 percent of gas transformed into liquefied natural gas (LNG) is released into the atmosphere between production and consumption, according to Shell.
The new initiative is the latest step by the world's leading oil and gas companies to reduce carbon emissions from their operations to help meet U.N.-backed goals to limit global warming.
Last year, a group of ten companies set up the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), representing more than 20 percent of the world's production. Exxon did not join that initiative.
(Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Mark Potter)