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Better Way, Part 3 - Who Certifies Responsibly Sourced Natural Gas?

In the past few months, there’s been a flurry of interest in certified responsibly sourced gas (RSG). RSG is natural gas — it still comes out of wells in the Marcellus, Haynesville, Permian, and other U.S. production areas. What distinguishes RSG is that its producers and pipeline companies have made efforts to significantly reduce the greenhouse gases — mostly methane — that are needlessly emitted along the value chain, and that an independent and respected outsider has certified the success of these efforts. RSG is still new to a lot of folks, including those in the natural gas business, so it’s reasonable to ask, who does the certifying, and what are the differences between them? In today’s RBN blog, we continue our series on RSG with a look at the different approaches taken by RSG certifiers: Project Canary and MiQ.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), emissions of methane (CH4) from the livestock industry, the oil and gas sector, and other human-related activity is responsible for about 30% of the global rise in temperature in the modern era. IEA also has claimed that it is technically feasible to prevent more than 70% of current CH4 emissions from oil and gas operations, and that about 45% of methane emissions could be avoided at no net cost because the value of the captured gas is higher than the cost of the abatement measures.

The Global Methane Pledge promoted by the U.S., the European Union (EU), and several other countries — sure to be a major topic at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, over the next few days — calls for reducing global methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030 and ramping up the use of “best available inventory methodologies” to quantify CH4 emissions, with a particular focus on high emission sources like oil and gas production and pipelines. Also, the Biden administration will soon release new draft regulations focused on reducing methane emissions from these same sources, and Congress has been considering aggressive efforts to plug and remediate abandoned oil and gas wells and coal mines, again with the aim of minimizing emissions of CH4.

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