The Rise of Differentiated Gas and What Certification Methods Exist
Growing awareness of methane’s potential as a greenhouse gas (GHG) has spurred the creation of several programs helping companies differentiate natural gas through certification. The goal of these programs is to help oil and gas operators and distributors establish practices and procedures that indicate their natural gas is produced and delivered through low-emissions processes or is being sourced responsibly. But what exactly is certification? What does it require? What organizations are developing guidelines to certify natural gas operations?
What is Differentiated Gas Certification?
Interest in differentiated or certified gas initiatives has grown as a potential solution for oil and gas companies to address end consumers’ desire to reduce the climate impact of their energy choices. The fundamental goal of natural gas certification is to reduce methane emissions while providing companies with measurable proof that they are making impactful changes in their operations.
“Different certification programs exist, and each has a slightly different scope. Some cover the full breadth of Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations across the entire value chain, while others are focused solely on methane from upstream natural gas,” said Thomas Fox in our interview with him about “The State of Certified Gas”.
The rigor of each of these certification methods varies with some organizations pledging to create a dynamic or progressive standard. One such organization, MiQ, plans to continuously enhance its guidelines to remain ambitious and compatible with future technologies and energy systems.
Who Certifies Natural Gas?
There is currently no industry-wide standard or consistent framework for specific certification requirements, although some certifiers are developing guidelines that address the entire oil and gas supply chain. Currently, certification initiatives are voluntary, and oil and gas companies can choose to participate and adopt any method that best aligns with their methane emission reduction and sustainability goals.
The certification guidelines of the organizations highlighted below support third-party verification for an independent auditing body. Additionally, each is technology agnostic to ensure transparency in monitoring, reporting, and certification. Lastly, several have graduated standards and certification levels with lower barriers to entry that can encourage oil and gas companies of all sizes and types to participate.
A few initiatives to watch:
The Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP) was created by The Climate and Clean Air Coalition as a voluntary initiative to help companies reduce methane emissions within oil and gas operations. The most recent form of the initiative, OGMP 2.0, includes five reporting levels, with the highest level requiring that emissions tracking and reports include site and source-level measurements. Companies have three years to achieve compliance for operated assets and 5 years for non-operated assets.
The MiQ Standard
The MiQ Standard was created to establish a practical measure for assessing methane emissions management. To carry out certification, upstream onshore and offshore facilities must perform under three criteria:
- Methane intensity below a certain threshold
- Company practices that promote a culture of emissions management
- Comprehensive monitoring technology deployment to detect fugitive emissions
MiQ has vowed to adapt the standard as technologies evolve and companies grow and change.
The EO100 certification is a three-year program that encompasses Five Principles that extend beyond methane emissions reduction:
- Corporate Governance, Transparency & Ethics
- Human Rights, Social Impact & Community Development
- Indigenous People’s Rights
- Fair Labor & Working Conditions
- Climate Change, Biodiversity & Environment
This is done to "support transparent, sustainable and equitable development of energy through an independent, stakeholder-negotiated, market-driven certification system that distinguishes and rewards operators for outstanding social, environmental and safety performance." EO100 includes provisions for different operations and is releasing an updated Natural Gas Guidelines later this fall. We will keep you updated as these new guidelines are announced.
The Gas Technology Institute announced it is creating a Differentiated Gas Initiative called Veritas with the goal of a standardized approach for incorporating measurements into methane emissions inventories. GTI is creating protocols for measurement and reconciliation along the entire natural gas value chain, ensuring consistent, credible, and transparent verification of differentiated gas.
To read a full list of initiatives and certification programs, check out this helpful resource, Highwood Emission Management’s Voluntary Initiatives Report.
What Oil and Gas Companies are Pursuing Natural Gas Certification?
Several oil and gas companies in the Production sector are seeking certification of differentiated natural gas.
ExxonMobil recently announced it will seek MiQ certification for its assets in the Poker Lake area, where approximately 200 million cubic feet of natural gas will be assessed every day. ExxonMobil will utilize Gas Mapping LiDAR™ to help achieve this certification.
Jonah Energy was the first U.S.-based company to join the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP). Jonah will use Gas Mapping LiDAR with the goal of achieving the Gold Standard following the OGMP 2.0 framework.
As demand increases for differentiated natural gas, we can expect to see more companies seek certification from credible and reputable organizations. We will keep you posted on new developments.
Interested in Learning More About Natural Gas Certification?
Bridger Photonics utilizes Gas Mapping LiDAR to help companies detect, locate, and quantify their methane emissions, meeting the most stringent of certification requirements today. Fill out our contact form to get started.
Learn more about how Bridger Photonics can help companies meet certified gas requirements here.