Williams defines “NextGen Gas” as natural gas that has been securely tracked and independently certified as having low emissions across all segments of the value chain. The term encompasses and goes beyond responsibly sourced natural gas, which is natural gas that has been verified at the production site as meeting certain environmental standards and practices.
Williams coined the more comprehensive term, NextGen Gas, to describe gas that is not only responsibly produced, but also gathered, processed, stored and transported to end users with the lowest environmental impact possible. Handling 30% of the nation’s natural gas, Williams is positioned as one of the largest infrastructure providers between producers and consumers. This gives Williams unique visibility and access to how the gas molecules are produced, processed, moved and used.
Through a partnership with decarbonization technology provider Context Labs, Williams is pioneering its NextGen Gas strategy to bring trust and transparency to a developing low-emission gas market. Currently, the low-emission gas market is fragmented, with multiple certifiers focused on different aspects of the value chain with varying measurement and certification standards. Williams, with its vast footprint from the regions where gas is produced to the markets where it is consumed, intends to standardize the market, and advance its commercial viability by demonstrating full-life cycle certification and providing low-carbon pathways for customers.
“Our goal is to leverage our customer relationships – both upstream and downstream – along with our nationwide midstream infrastructure to provide a more holistic end-to-end certified gas product for the market,” said Brian Vogt, Director of Business Development at New Energy Ventures, the group at Williams developing the program. “We are not only driving emissions reductions at our own operations, but we are also creating economic value and a new market through commercialization of the Context Labs partnership and related technologies.”
Here’s how it works
Williams is gathering emissions data across the value chain (from customers and its own operations) using both top-down monitoring technologies including satellites and camera sensors as well as bottom-up internal measurements using operational data. That data is synthesized by Context Labs’ blockchain technology to provide a comprehensive emissions profile of an entire pathway from producer to end users. It also provides actionable operational insights and decision-making capabilities for Williams and customers.
The low-emissions attributes of NextGen Gas are then validated by a major third-party auditing firm, increasing trust and transparency and furthering the continued commercialization of NextGen Gas.
Williams, through its Sequent Energy Management business, is building a marketing portfolio to sell low-carbon NextGen Gas to utilities, LNG export facilities and other clean energy users. This enormous gas pipeline marketing footprint allows Williams to pick the most efficient pathway to move the low-carbon gas from areas its produced to the customers that desire it, connecting clean energy supply with clean energy demand.
“This is a unique competitive advantage for Williams in a market that is entirely voluntary,” said Vogt. “Williams will not only gain valuable real-time insights that will help us reduce our emissions, but by providing a commercial platform to deliver certified gas we can bring value to our customers and help them meet their climate commitments. As we see end-users across our pipeline network set emissions reduction goals, and Europe continue to move forward with some form of carbon border tax, the demand for NextGen Gas will continue to grow.”