Southwestern Sells 1st Certified “Responsible Gas” to NJ Resources

Bet you didn’t know that natural gas can be certified as “premium” and “responsible,” did you? No, we didn’t either. It was quite a surprise when we read that Southwestern Energy has, for the first time anywhere, sold natural gas to a customer (utility company New Jersey Resources) that has been certified as “responsible gas.” The certification comes from Independent Energy Standards Corporation (IES) and they call it their TrustWell™ Responsible Gas Program certification. And what does such a prestigious label certify? It certifies the gas was “responsibly developed.” As opposed to irresponsibly developed gas, which is what everybody sells. “Responsible” gas, according to IES, is gas that doesn’t leak as much methane during the extraction and transportation process, doesn’t spill as much water and chemicals on the ground, sources water from places that are, well, responsible (we suppose), and engages the community–to make them feel good about all this responsible-ness going around. Yes, you may detect a little bit of snark in our comments on this news–because we happen to think the industry at large is already doing a great job of being responsible–without having a label put on it. This is just marketing. Hey, if it floats your boat to have a “responsible” label on your gas (paying to do so), go for it. Such a designation will never impress the eco-nuts. IES says they think “in time” that some 25-50% of all gas sold in the U.S. will have such a certification/label as green-friendly. We think that’s an ambitious number, given the fact there are still only five Marcellus/Utica drillers who have gone through the rigors of receiving a certification from the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, an organization that’s been around since early 2013 and offers something similar to IES’ cert…

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