In winter 2022, Washington Gas made a public announcement that it signed an agreement that would provide its customers in the National Capital Region with natural gas certified by MiQ, an independent framework for assessing methane emissions.
According to Melissa Adams, assistant vice president of policy climate solutions and commercialization at Washington Gas, certification is carried out by independent, verified auditors who evaluate the production of natural gas along with the policies and practices of the producers making it. Adams said the MiQ standard aligns with the protocols recently put forward by the Gas Technology Institute—in collaboration with a broad group of stakeholders from the energy, academic, technology, accounting and environmental communities—to standardize direct methane emissions measurement.
According to the overview Adams provided to American Gas, the MiQ-certified gas is being provided by Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Ascent Resources. Both companies’ production facilities were awarded top grades for minimizing methane emissions to an intensity less than 0.05%. The gas they supply is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions by roughly 28,000 metric tons when compared to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-determined industry average. According to the EPA greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator, this reduction is equivalent to taking approximately 6,000 gas-powered passenger vehicles off the road for one year.
While Washington Gas has made previous purchases of certified gas, this is the first natural gas procurement that has been verified using MiQ’s certification, said Adams.
Adams also added that the agreement fits into Washington Gas’ Climate Business Plan. That plan focuses on reducing GHG emissions associated with natural gas in three ways: improving customer energy efficiency; enhancing operations and modernizing infrastructure; and lowering emissions associated with gas sourcing and supply. Acquiring certified natural gas is one element of that sourcing and supply strategy.
“Since natural gas extraction and processing accounts for the largest emitting sector in the natural gas value chain, we are supporting efforts that can make an immediate difference,” Adams told American Gas. “Procurement of certified gas is a favorable economic solution and one of the lowest-cost strategies available to reduce upstream emissions.”
The MiQ agreement was from Nov. 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023. According to a Washington Gas announcement, it will continue to look for opportunities to procure lowmethane supply for customers, including purchasing increasing amounts of certified natural gas as part of its strategy to reduce GHG emissions.