Bloom Energy, a manufacturer and marketer of solid oxide fuel cells to produce on-site electricity, will be the first buyer of US gas giant EQT’s certified natural gas as it converts its entire fleet of US fuel cells to certified low-leak natural gas.

EQT’s certified gas will account for 100% of Bloom’s natural gas consumption in its US fuel cell installations, deployed at more than 700 sites, for the next two years, the California-based company told Upstream.

The transaction marks the first sale of certified gas for the largest US natural gas producer, underlining the growing demand for independent certification in the market, with 350 billion cubic feet of certified gas now available on MiQ’s Digital Registry for trading.

EQT achieved certification in November from MiQ, a non-profit climate tech foundation focused on reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas industry, and environmental consultancy Equitable Origin.

MiQ certifies natural gas by looking at site-level methane intensity, along with frequency and detection-levels of methane monitoring systems and company policies, to determine a grade for the natural gas. Equitable Origin has five pillars with broader environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets in its EO100 standard, including indigenous people’s rights, fair labour and other environmentally focused targets.

EQT's certified gas became available for trading on MiQ’s Digital Registry in January.

The development means EQT’s certified gas makes up 4.5% of natural gas produced in the US, the company said, making the Pennsylvania-based player the country’s largest producer of certified gas.

Bloom announced last July it would seek natural gas certification by both MiQ and Equitable Origin to use in its global fleet of fuel cells, focusing on the two certification organisations due to their technology-agnostic approach and wide range of ESG criteria.

“By transitioning our domestic fleet of fuel cells to certified natural gas, we are taking an immediate and impactful step to eliminate harmful methane emissions as we lay the foundation for a net-zero future,” said Bloom’s senior director of sustainability Stephen Lamm.

“We’re proud to partner with EQT on their mission to transform the natural gas market, and we strongly urge other gas producers and consumers to join us in embracing more responsible practices — not only for the industry, but the planet.”

The US has been penalised in the past for not having clean enough gas.

A deal between NextDecade and France’s Engie fell through in 2020 due to the French government’s concerns over methane emissions and other environmental impacts.

However, Engie is now in an ongoing transaction with Range Resources for its natural gas certified by data analytics and environmental assessment company Project Canary.

Natural gas certification has opened up opportunities for companies to prove their ESG credentials and differentiate themselves in the market.

Cleaning up gas

Will Jordan, general counsel at EQT, previously told Upstream that certified gas also facilitates independent third party assessment.

“We do see an opportunity to have a differentiation in product as people start to value low emissions. If someone wants to pay a premium for it to help their process, it allows a trickle-through financing for other decarbonisation efforts.”

Jordan said EQT plans to get to net zero emissions within the next 33 months by replacing its 9000 natural gas pneumatics with compressed air and nitrogen by the end of this year, a process the company began last year, among offsets and other decarbonisation activities.

EQT is also allocating its earmarked fund of $75 million for new decarbonisation opportunities and emissions reductions.

The Pennsylvania-based producer is involved with a decarbonisation alliance in Appalachia, working with Equinor, Marathon Petroleum, and other companies to establish a carbon capture and hydrogen hub in the region.

“We’re driven by reducing emissions, not getting paid for reducing emissions. We view low emissions as a strategic asset for our company, as a differentiator for our company. That’s why we’re doing it,” Jordan said.

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