The US is proposing new standards to cut up to 45% of methane emissions from 2012 levels by 2025.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made the announcement in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the oil and natural gas industry.
It is part of President Obama’s plans to tackle climate change and protect public health in the country.
Methane is said to be the key constituent of natural gas and a potent GHG with a global warming potential more than 25 times greater than carbon dioxide.
The new measures include finding and repairing leaks, limiting gas emissions from several types of equipment used at natural gas transmission compressor stations.
They are expected to reduce 340,000 to 400,000 tons of methane in the next 10 years – the equivalent of cutting up to nine million metric tons of carbon emissions.
The EPA estimates the new rules would provide benefits of up to $150 million (£96m) during the same period.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said: “Today through our cost-effective proposed standards, we are underscoring our commitment to reducing the pollution fueling climate change and protecting public health while supporting responsible energy development, transparency and accountability
“Cleaner-burning energy sources like natural gas are key compliance options for our Clean Power Plan and we are committed to ensuring safe and responsible production that supports a robust clean energy economy.”
The Clean Power Plan was criticised by some in the US energy industry, claiming it will increase consumers costs.