Appalachian Companies Launch Methane Coalition to Give World Window to Natural Gas Operations

Appalachian Companies Launch Methane Coalition to Give World Window to Natural Gas Operations 

 

By Jamison Cocklin  January 11, 2023 naturalgasintel.com

Three of the Appalachian Basin’s leading upstream and midstream operators on Wednesday announced a new coalition aimed at better monitoring and reducing methane emissions throughout the Marcellus and Utica shales. 

Chesapeake Energy Corp., EQT Corp. and Equitrans Midstream Corp. launched the Appalachian Methane Initiative (AMI). The coalition said it would work to identify and fix fugitive methane emissions in the basin through coordinated satellite and aerial surveys that take into account advanced methane monitoring and reporting frameworks.

“As an industry, we have an important role to play in both meeting global energy needs and reducing climate change risks,” said Chesapeake CEO Nick Dell’Osso. “The AMI coalition offers an opportunity to better measure and understand our emissions profiles as we work to reduce the environmental impact of natural gas production and answer the call for affordable, reliable and lower carbon energy.” 

AMI said it would coordinate and share best practices to mitigate methane emissions from natural gas operations, including production and midstream. It also would collaborate on activities and monitor results through transparent, publicly available reporting. 

“Applying a basin-wide, sector-agnostic approach to methane monitoring will not only allow accountability for methane emissions from all emitters, we believe it will eliminate any doubt – whether from policymakers, customers or the general public – that Appalachian natural gas is the cleanest form of traditional energy in the world,” said EQT CEO Toby Rice. 

AMI plans to focus first on developing a pilot monitoring program this year to cover select areas of interest within Appalachia’s major operating footprints. The coalition said it would ultimately work toward developing a basin-wide monitoring plan in 2024. 

Unconventional natural gas development across Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia has transformed the Appalachia Basin into one one of the world’s top-producing regions. Combined, unconventional production from the fields is more than 35 Bcf/d. 

Appalachian pure-play EQT produces over 5 Bcfe/d across more than one million acres in all three states. Chesapeake produced more than 4 Bcfe/d across all of its assets in the Marcellus, Haynesville and Eagle Ford shales during the third quarter. It holds 650,000 net acres in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Equitrans is one of the nation’s largest natural gas gathering companies, moving over 8 Bcf/d in Appalachia.

AMI is the latest in a series of similar efforts announced by the oil and gas industry in recent years to better monitor and curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership and Our Nation’s Energy Future, among others. 

Producers in Appalachia, however, are searching for an edge as they look to gain exposure to an international gas market increasingly requiring more transparent operations and more tools to combat climate change. Both EQT and Chesapeake have touted ongoing efforts to step into the LNG market.

EQT, in particular, has launched an initiative to promote the benefits of the super-chilled fuel over dirtier alternatives like coal. 

“At a time when international coal and associated GHG and methane have reached all-time highs, it is imperative that we recognize Appalachian natural gas for what it is, namely a means of meaningfully reducing global emissions,” Rice said Wednesday.

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