Energy Insights

Energy Insights

What is responsibly sourced gas?

If you buy organic produce, you might be accustomed to looking for the label that says the food is certified by the USDA.

But did you know that natural gas is a product that also can be verified to show environmental responsibility?

Responsibly sourced gas or RSG is natural gas that an independent third party has verified as meeting the highest standards and practices to minimize the environmental footprint.

Assessment criteria for RSG are generally focused on methane emissions but can consider additional qualities such as other air emissions, water use, water quality, land use or community engagement.

While methane, the main component of natural gas, is used to heat homes and power the electric grid, it’s also a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why it’s increasingly critical to quantify, reduce and monitor methane emissions from every segment of the natural gas value chain, from wells to processing facilities, to transmission and distribution systems to industry and consumers.

So how can we be sure our natural gas is responsibly sourced?

This is done through a process called quantification, monitoring, reporting and verification, or QMRV. Data from state-of-the-art monitoring technology can be used to identify emissions trends over time and determine the best locations to focus greenhouse gas reduction efforts. 

Let’s break it down:

  • Quantification is the ability to measure emissions through technology rather than through estimated or factor-based calculations.
  • Monitoring using measurement technology to identify emission events, improve emission data accuracy and increased data transparency and confidence.
  • Reporting associated emissions involves providing transparency for measured or calculated emissions data.
  • Verification means reported information is periodically subjected to independent review compared to an organization’s standard, to establish completeness, reliability and positive environmental impact.

U.S. natural gas is already one of the cleanest and most abundant energy sources in the world. QMRV provides the data necessary to facilitate measurable progress in reducing emissions. RSG programs will play a key role in helping the industry operate on a more efficient, more sustainable basis in order to meet growing global energy demand.