Concerns about climate change have taken center stage in recent years, with the global economy under mounting pressure from governments, investors, and the wider public to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and transition to cleaner energy sources. With the understanding that a transition will take a long time and that the world will still need oil and gas in the interim, traditional energy companies are increasingly seeking ways to clean up their current operations as much as possible. That’s where responsibly sourced gas (RSG) comes into play — natural gas that is produced, gathered, processed, transported, and distributed in a way that meets the highest environmental standards and practices, resulting in reduced GHG emissions. In today’s RBN blog we’ll look at the emergence of RSG as an important opportunity for oil and gas companies looking to be responsible environmental stewards and how Project Canary’s certification standards measure their progress in achieving those goals.
Though we often think about — and RBN often blogs about — reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in an effort to meet climate goals, methane emissions are instead the primary focus of efforts to responsibly source natural gas, and for good reason. That’s because methane, the primary constituent in pipeline gas, is a particularly potent GHG, with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) that is 25 to 36 times that of CO2 if normalized to a 100-year timeline, as we explained in our first blog on Project Canary, Free Bird. But methane emissions are neutralized in the atmosphere after just a decade or two, meaning their initial GWP is much higher, more like 86 times that of CO2 if normalized to a 20-year timeline. That means that making even modest reductions in unburned methane emissions is a critically important step for companies that want to improve their environmental performance.
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