EQT Corp. said 80% of its natural gas now holds the certified designation, giving it a potential leg up for premium pricing.

The top natural gas producer in the United States, which produced an estimated 5.6 Bcfe/d during the third quarter,  said most of the Marcellus and Utica shale production achieved the certification label last November under standards set by Equitable Origin (EO) and MiQ. 

An independent audit by Responsible Energy Solutions assessed roughly 200 well pads in Pennsylvania’s Greene and Washington counties that collectively produce about 4 Bcf/day. 

“These results not only enable us to unlock growing domestic and international markets that are valuing a differentiated commodity, they also serve as an important validation of the environmental attributes of Appalachian natural gas,” said EQT CEO Toby Z. Rice. 

EQT last April said it was working to ensure most of its Appalachian Basin supply was responsibly sourced. The Pennsylvania-based exploration and production company’s total output “now comprises 4.5% of all natural gas produced in the U.S.” The certifications “provide a transparent, verified method” to track environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments. The goals include reducing direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 and 2), and reducing EQT’s methane emissions intensity by 65% by 2025.

The EO100 Standard for Responsible Energy Development process focused on the ESG performance, while MiQ verified the methane emissions. 

EQT achieved “the highest initial certification score ascribed” by EO “to any upstream producer domestically or abroad to date, reflecting EQT’s commitment to being the operator of choice for all of its stakeholders,” EO noted.

“EO100 certification is enabling differentiation and recognition of responsibly produced gas,” CEO Soledad Mills said. 

[Decision Maker: A real-time news service focused on the North American natural gas and LNG markets, NGI’s All News Access is the industry’s go-to resource for need-to-know information. Learn more.]

“The certification standards developed by MiQ and Equitable Origin aim to bring transparency to an opaque market, drive demand for certified natural gas and help operators differentiate themselves through methane-emissions performance and overall responsible energy production.”

The first block of EQT’s certified gas is available for trading on MIQ’s Digital Registry. The Digital Registry, which launched in December, is a global digital ledger in which joint MiQ-EO100 certificates are held from the time they are issued to retirement. 

One certificate is issued per MMBtu of certified natural gas. Certificates may be traded bundled, i.e. combined with natural gas delivery, or unbundled, which EO said is designed for “massively increasing the potential for significant liquidity in the markets.”