Certifying natural gas on a pathway to a lower-emission energy future

In 2021, ExxonMobil became the first integrated energy company to announce participation in a program to certify natural gas production through a pilot at Poker Lake, New Mexico, a key area of its Permian Basin operations, using standards developed by MiQ, a nonprofit organization.

Our methane emissions reduction efforts

This independent certification process from MiQ is helping verify methane emissions performance and mitigation efforts at that complex, which uses the latest monitoring technologies and is operated by a team specifically trained to quickly identify and fix methane leaks at the source.

Reducing methane emissions is key to mitigating the effects of climate change in the short term, and the United Nations Environment Programme estimates up to 45% of human-caused methane emissions could be reduced this decade, which would align with Paris Agreement targets. ExxonMobil’s team of experts is collaborating with academia, technology startups and industry members to find, test and scale technologies that can detect methane leaks and reduce methane emissions. This includes investing in cutting-edge technologies and piloting new programs to support the company’s Scope 1 and 2 net-zero ambitions, such as natural gas certification.

MiQ: Who are they & how are they helping us validate methane emissions reductions?

As a nonprofit organization, MiQ developed an independent certification process to help companies voluntarily quantify their methane emissions performance, examine the effectiveness of monitoring technology deployment and evaluate how well employees perform leak detection and repair (LDAR). Through an accredited third-party auditor, MiQ has certified and awarded its top grade, grade A, to approximately 200 million cubic feet of natural gas being produced daily from the Poker Lake area. Through a recent certified gas sale agreement with Xcel Energy, this supply of certified gas, produced with low methane emissions, is now helping power homes, schools and businesses in southeastern New Mexico. ExxonMobil is already expanding the program with the goal of providing certified natural gas in other areas.

It takes the right tools, technology and people to make a difference in methane mitigation. Using Gas Mapping LiDAR™ imaging, optical gas imaging cameras, acoustic sensors and on-the-ground SOOFIE sensors, and having a team specializing in making the most out of that suite of technology enable ExxonMobil to identify and repair methane leaks more quickly and efficiently. The result is lower-emission production of natural gas, verifiable through independent certification, that goes on to help power modern life. Find out more about the people behind this effort at the Poker Lake facilities.

Learn more about the work we do tracking methane emissions from above.