As we navigate the global energy transition, it’s essential to understand the full-cycle environmental impacts of fuel sources. To meet the challenges of an increasingly complex energy landscape—securing a reliable energy supply at an affordable price while continuing to reduce emissions—US LNG exports can provide a strategic solution. With nearly one-third of the US gas market undertaking third-party certification and environmental assessments, the US can confidently lead the way with natural gas as an accessible, lower-carbon fuel source. By certifying the runway for natural gas with auditable emissions performance data, we can help producers unlock its potential on a global scale.
Last year marked one of the most volatile periods for natural gas prices amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and supply shortfalls from the COVID pandemic. Even though natural gas’s long-term outlook is under the microscope, all signs indicate that it still has a long runway ahead in our energy mix, as Dr. Kenneth Medlock, a professor at Rice University and senior director of the Center for Energy Studies, recently told the Wall Street Journal. Natural gas’s runway through the energy transition has been ensured by its lower carbon qualities and potential to drive next-generation fuels such as hydrogen.
To realize natural gas’ tremendous decarbonizing potential on a global scale, producers, transporters, and users must commit to understanding the full-cycle environmental impacts of this important fuel source. Such performance metrics can be tracked through third-party environmental assessments. With Russia cutting off gas supply to Europe, US LNG exports can fill the supply gap and provide energy security to Europe — the US is now Europe’s long-term strategic supplier. And the US can prove its molecules are clean — by measuring gas emissions performance; reductions will continue to be made.
Indeed, tremendous progress has occurred in the last few years in monitoring and measurement technologies, and the Responsibly Sourced Gas (RSG) market is well underway. RSG (aka Low Emissions Gas, Certified Gas, Responsibly Sourced Gas, RSG, Producer Certified Gas) is natural gas that has undergone independent 3rd party assessment that molecules were produced under specified environmental best practices. This is demonstrated by growing alignment across the certified gas value chain with producers, technology providers, assessors, certifiers, registries, and importers all collaborating because of the strategic value and opportunity they see in these important and emerging markets. With new laws, regulations, and measurement-based reporting requirements focused on methane emissions in the upstream and midstream segments and a methane fee becoming effective in 2024 due to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the natural gas sector is about to take a big step toward enabling the differentiated gas market. These changes will allow producers to compete and market environmental attributes like methane intensity and other important considerations such as water use.
With natural gas molecules becoming cleaner and cleaner through technology and measurement improvements, certified gas (RSG) offers a low-carbon baseload power source to combine with renewables. Getting to net zero will take time, but producing cleaner molecules is an immediate, actionable step that can be taken easily, affordably, and at scale. By validating sustainability credentials and environmental transparency through certification, natural gas can secure the US’s role as Europe’s long-term energy trading partner.
Enabling the fuel of the future
Looking further down the energy transition runway to countries’ net-zero targets, certified natural gas (RSG with climate attribute data) is one of the easiest emission reduction opportunities available. This is essential because it is the most important ingredient for hydrogen, the ‘fuel of the future.’ Blue hydrogen, produced from natural gas with steam methane reforming, is widely viewed as the lowest-cost option to help decarbonize industrial and residential heating and industrial-heavy transportation. But it is only considered carbon-neutral if carbon dioxide emissions are captured and stored underground with low upstream emissions.
As we work together to drive the future of energy, all fuel sources, from natural gas to hydrogen, are under pressure to cut methane leaks across the natural gas supply chain. Removing these emissions impediments will clear the runway for natural gas. Thanks to certification, natural gas’ long-term viability looks stronger than ever.