Tennessee Gas Pipeline, Southwestern Energy Announce Methane Emission Reduction Plan

Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP), a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, and Southwestern Energy (SWN) announced the initiation of a responsibly sourced natural gas (RSG) strategic agreement.

The goal of the agreement is to further reduce methane emissions across the natural gas value chain by receiving and transporting RSG to market and, in this case, specifically to a market in the Northeast. RSG is natural gas that has been produced from a natural gas well and transported by companies whose operations have been independently verified as meeting certain environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, particularly related to methane emission reductions.

RSG goes through a rigorous verification process to certify that it meets or exceeds the standards established by the ONE Future coalition, which are designed to achieve a 1% or lower methane intensity level, or 99% methane efficiency, by 2025. With this agreement, Project Canary will apply its TrustWell certification process and continuous emissions monitoring devices to SWN production sites in the Appalachian Basin, ensuring a methane intensity rate of 0.28% or lower, per ONE Future upstream targets (production, compression and gathering).

SWN achieved an intensity rate of 0.055% in 2019, according to its annual Corporate Responsibility report, and is pursuing further emission reductions through various initiatives. The KMI transportation network, including TGP, has significantly beat its 0.31% ONE Future transmission target with a rate of only 0.03% in 2019, as published in the company’s latest ESG report.

These combined industry segments substantially outperform the estimated average intensity rate of up to 1.41% for conventional natural gas emissions across the industry value chain, according to EPA data provided by a 2018 peer-reviewed article in Science Magazine. Additional criteria evaluated by Project Canary’s Trustwell certification include impacts to air, land, water and the community as well as the mechanical integrity of well design and practices.

As part of the agreement, SWN will produce and TGP will transport the RSG on its existing pipeline infrastructure to benefit a large market in the Northeast where the distribution of the RSG is expected to power the equivalent of approximately 100,000 homes annually while reducing GHG emissions equal to the removal of approximately 5,000 internal combustion engine vehicles from the road. The market will begin experiencing the benefits of RSG November 1, 2021. TGP and SWN are both founding members of the ONE Future Coalition, working together to reduce methane emissions and to ensure the future of natural gas as a long-term sustainable fuel.

“We are pleased to be part of this agreement focused on providing this lower-carbon fuel to the Northeastern United States,” said KMI’s President of Natural Gas Pipelines Tom Martin. “This is one of several RSG initiatives currently underway at Kinder Morgan and aligns with our commitment to minimize methane emissions.”

“Southwestern believes responsibly sourced gas is foundational to a low carbon future. This innovative agreement with Kinder Morgan to deliver responsibly sourced energy to customers in the Northeast is evidence of our commitment to help bring about that future,” said Southwestern Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Way.

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