Privately held Northeast Natural Energy (NNE) plans to have natural gas production across its entire operating area in West Virginia environmentally certified by two companies.

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Certification would be based on separate standards developed by Equitable Origin (EO) and MiQ to validate it is producing what the industry has coined as “responsibly” sourced gas production. If NNE meets the standards, the company said it would become the first private equity-backed producer to certify its entire field through dual certifications. NNE is backed by EIG Global Energy Partners LLC. 

“Our team has always focused on operating with the highest environmental standards in the industry and we have been exploring new technologies and certifications for several months,” said CEO Mike John. 

Indeed, NNE has for years worked with the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory at one of its well sites outside of Morgantown, WV, to develop technology to improve recovery efficiency and minimize the environmental impacts of unconventional natural gas extraction.  The company operates across 30,000 acres in Marion and Monongalia counties. It has drilled more than 100 horizontal wells and produces about 100 Bcf/year of gross natural gas. 

Avitas, a Baker Hughes Co. subsidiary, would provide continuous emissions monitoring equipment to help achieve MiQ’s methane standard. MiQ’s certification process includes gauging methane intensity, company practices and methane detection. 

In addition to the methane certification, NNE would also be certified by EO standards, which cover a broad range of environmental, social and governance criteria. 

EO  reviews corporate governance and ethics; social impacts, human rights and community engagement; Indigenous Peoples’ rights; occupational health and safety, and fair labor standards; and environmental impacts, biodiversity and climate change before issuing a certification. Responsible Energy Solutions would also audit NNE’s natural gas production against EO and MiQ standards as required by the certification process. 

As buyers demand more from oil and natural gas producers, certified volumes have grown in popularity. The differentiated product has even fetched premium prices as the energy transition intensifies. Appalachian pure-play EQT Corp., the nation’s largest natural gas producer, is pushing to ensure most of its supply is responsibly sourced through pilot programs to environmentally certify about 4 Bcf/d of gross production with EO, MiQ and Project Canary. The programs would also quantify methane emissions. 

Other producers operating in Appalachia and across the country, including Southwestern Energy Co. and Chesapeake Energy Corp., have also sought certification. Even liquefied natural gas projects and other downstream operators are working with companies such as Project Canary to environmentally validate their work.