Nearly 200 MMcf/d of the natural gas that ExxonMobil produces at Poker Lake, NM, in the Permian Basin have been independently certified for methane emissions management, the supermajor said Tuesday.

The certification from MiQ is the first by a company for its associated gas production from oil, ExxonMobil said. The certification process also is being expanded to other Lower 48 operations.

“This certification further validates the steps we have taken to reduce methane emissions, which is part of our plans to achieve net zero Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse emissions in our Permian Basin unconventional operations by 2030,” said ExxonMobil’s Tom Schuessler, senior vice president of unconventional. 

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“Certification gives our customers confidence that we are responsibly producing natural gas with best-in-class emission management programs to help them meet their emissions goals.”

MiQ said it awarded an “A” grade certification because of ExxonMobil’s “multi-tiered technology approach to methane monitoring and mitigation at Poker Lake.” The efforts include a combination of fixed monitoring systems, aerial imaging technology, optical gas imaging cameras, acoustic sensors, as well as leak detection and repair practices. 

Third-party certifier Responsible Energy Solutions performed the assessment using the MiQ Standard. 

“It’s widely accepted that it’s now the time to take steps to limit the effects of climate change and reducing methane emissions is one of the most significant actions we can take,” said MiQ CEO Georges Tijbosch.

“MiQ is pioneering independently certified gas to help accelerate methane reductions from the natural gas industry and, as one of the world’s largest energy companies, ExxonMobil’s expansion of the certification program demonstrates that independently certified gas is rapidly becoming the status quo.” 

Certified Gas For Xcel Power Plants

ExxonMobil plans to certify output from other operating areas, including Appalachia natural gas operations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The Irving, TX-based major already has begun selling commercial volumes to customers, including utility Xcel Energy Inc.

Xcel plans to use the certified gas to power homes, schools and businesses in southeastern New Mexico.

“Xcel Energy is committed to delivering net-zero energy by 2050 across all the ways our customers use energy, and that includes powering our generating fleet with natural gas purchased only from suppliers with certified low-methane emissions by 2030,” said Xcel’s David Hudson, president of New Mexico and Texas operations. “Fueling our New Mexico power plants with ExxonMobil’s certified natural gas is an important step in that direction and enables us to achieve the cleaner energy future we’re all envisioning.”

ExxonMobil, a founding member of Methane Guiding Principles, said it has supported measurement, reporting and verification standards as part of a broad suite of regulations to help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In 2020, the company introduced a model regulatory framework for industry-wide methane regulations. 

Mitigating methane emissions is one component of its plans to achieve net zero GHG emissions in the Permian unconventional assets by 2030. ExxonMobil also is working to reduce emissions by electrifying operations using renewable and lower-carbon power sources, eliminating routine flaring by the end of this year, as well as upgrading equipment and enhancing processes. Similar GHG emission-reduction road maps are being developed for ExxonMobil’s operated upstream, refining and chemicals assets around the world. 

The company is scheduled to issue its first quarter results on Friday (April 29).