Chesapeake Energy Corp. said Wednesday it is partnering with nonprofits MiQ and Equitable Origin to certify its Lower 48 natural gas production as responsibly sourced under a rigorous set of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.

Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake said it would be “the first company to independently certify and continuously monitor its natural gas production across two major shale gas basins” under the MiQ methane standard and the EO100 Standard for Responsible Energy Development.

The certifications support “Chesapeake’s pledge to reduce methane and greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity and achieve net-zero direct greenhouse gases by 2035,” the exploration and production firm said. 

The partnership would first certify production across Chesapeake’s Gulf Coast assets targeting the Haynesville and Bossier Shale formations. Production then would be certified into the Appalachia Basin targeting the Marcellus Shale, Chesapeake said. 

“Chesapeake has pledged to reduce methane intensity to 0.09% by 2025, and MiQ certification will provide a verified approach to tracking this commitment, as well as support Chesapeake in its overall objective of achieving net-zero direct greenhouse gas emissions by 2035,” management said. 

MiQ and Equitable Origin would provide Chesapeake with “third-party audited, independently verified certification for its natural gas,” said MiQ senior adviser Georges Tijbosch.

The news follows the restoration of Obama-era regulations of oil and gas methane emissions that had been partially rescinded by the Trump administration.

Appalachia heavyweight EQT Corp., the largest U.S. natural gas producer, announced in April that it planned to certify around 4 Bcf/d of gross production in Pennsylvania under the MiQ and EO100 standards.

The announcements come as liquefied natural gas buyers are subjecting suppliers to increasingly rigorous environmental standards as countries aim to meet their climate goals, with methane emissions throughout the gas value chain a major part of the equation.

The MiQ quantitative certification standard is graded on a sliding A-F scale based on methane intensity, company practices and methane detection. The certification scheme “is designed to improve transparency surrounding methane emissions and provide the backbone for a level playing field across the global natural gas market,” according to MiQ.

The EO100 Standard, meanwhile, is “the first market-based mechanism to recognize and reward responsible energy producers and to empower energy purchasers through independent, site-level certification,” according to Equitable Origin.

The standard is grounded in a set of comprehensive, globally applicable environmental, social and governance indicators “developed with extensive stakeholder input,” the organization said.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that oil and gas operations worldwide emitted slightly more than 70 million metric tons of methane into the atmosphere in 2020, which is comparable to the total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions of the European Union.

Methane emissions intensity of U.S. oil and gas operations is among the lowest of the major producing countries, according to IEA.