The U.S.’s largest natural gas producer, EQT Corporation, says it is on track to achieve its goal of net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its production segment by 2025.
EQT plans to achieve the goal largely through operational improvements, rather than the use of offsets. The company made noteworthy progress in 2022, reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 19.8 per cent on 2021 levels to 433,450 tonnes of CO2e, according to Evaluate Energy data.
These figures do not include emissions from the assets acquired in the third quarter of 2021 from Alta Resources Development, LLC, which EQT is reporting separately this year.
EQT has overseen a steady reduction in Scope 1 and 2 production-segment emissions since 2018 (see chart below), despite acquiring some Chevron Corporation upstream and midstream oil and gas assets in the fourth quarter of 2020, which are included in its performance towards the 2025 target.
During 2022 the firm completed a $28-million initiative to replace 9,000 natural gas-powered pneumatic devices in its production operations with electric units. These devices set thresholds and manage liquid levels in vessels such as separators, scrubbers and filters and accounted for 47 per cent of EQT’s Scope 1 production segment GHG emissions in 2021.
The replacement program took two years, but the benefits will not be fully realized in its emissions inventory until EQT reports its 2023 data due to the way emissions from pneumatic devices are calculated under the EPA’s reporting rules, meaning it expects to report further emissions reductions in 2023.
EQT has published a whitepaper highlighting its learnings from the program so that other operators can leverage its experience and implement the processes in their own operations.
The pneumatic drive replacement program was also carried out across the acquired Alta assets, although again the full benefits have not yet been reflected in emissions reporting data.
Production segment Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions from the Alta assets were cut year-on-year by just two per cent to 107,901 tonnes of CO2e in 2022, far less than the 19.8 per cent cut in the historical assets.
A change in the way emissions from pneumatic devices were reported in the Alta assets following the purchase — from an assumption-based model to a full inventory — led to a year-on-year increase in emissions in the division in 2022. As with the historical assets, the benefits of the replacement program on emissions will not be seen until 2023, when the firm expects a significant reduction below both 2021 and 2022 levels.
Methane emissions intensity
EQT also has a goal to reduce its Scope 1 methane emissions intensity to below 0.02 per cent by 2025.
Between 2018 and 2021 it made good progress on cutting methane emissions intensity (see chart below) due to its combo-development strategy. This strategy focuses on developing multiple multi-well pads simultaneously, reducing infrastructure and therefore opportunities for methane loss.
In 2022 the firm achieved a figure of 0.038 per cent, only a marginal improvement on the 0.039 per cent figure reported in 2021, but EQT expects this figure to improve in 2023, again thanks to realizing the ongoing benefits of the pneumatic device replacement program, and maintains confidence in hitting its 2025 goal.
Unlike the Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions figures, the methane emissions intensity figure does include emissions and production from the Alta assets.
In November 2022, the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership 2.0 (OGMP) — a multi-stakeholder initiative launched by the United Nations Environment Programme — awarded EQT a “Gold Standard” rating, the highest reporting level under the initiative, in recognition of its reduction targets and commitment to accurately measuring, reporting and reducing methane emissions.
EQT was among 14 upstream companies globally qualifying for the Gold Standard for 2022.
LNG production argument
In recent months EQT has been advancing a climate-centric argument for leveraging U.S. natural gas to replace international coal. For more on EQT’s LNG plans, click here.
“We believe this to be one of most important initiatives available to the world in addressing climate change,” says chief executive officer Toby Rice.
“We’ve got a plan to reshape the world’s energy mix by increasing U.S. LNG exports to connect our affordable, reliable and clean natural gas to the world’s coal consumers.”
The firm says a quadrupling of U.S. LNG capacity to 55 bcf/d by 2030 to replace overseas coal use would reduce global emissions by 1.1 billion tonnes CO2 per year.
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