When looking at the GHGs (Greenhouse Gases) emissions over the life cycle of natural gas, its origin can represent up to approximately 15% of its total footprint, the rest being generated by its usage phase. From one point of origin to another, the GHGs impacts of natural gas can vary.
What are the key influencer factors of natural gas upstream impact differences?
1. Extraction method: because natural gas can come from various sources (coal bed methane wells or shale gas wells for example), different extracting methods have emerged and for each, the CO2 impacts and the methane emissions vary. For example, while hydraulic fracturing has higher potential to release methane into the atmosphere during the extraction process, conventional drilling may result in other environmental impacts, such as habitat destruction and groundwater contamination.
2. Transportation methods and distance should also be considered when looking at the gas GHG impact. Gas pipeline and LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) tanker do not account for the same level of emissions. In most cases, gas pipelines transportation emits less than LNG tankers mainly because the transformation process of gas to LNG is twice as important in terms of energy intensity and in terms of emissions compared to gas pipeline transport. However, one must account for leakage level of the pipeline networks and the distance travelled for gas to be delivered.
3. Local Energy mix is also a factor of influence, as you need to consider the energy used to extract, refine, and transport the gas to its consumption point.
By looking at the difference upstream steps of the natural gas value chain, we can see that all natural gases are not created equal. Origin is a key marker.
With TEO, trace and certify the origin of your gas
By tracing the attributes of gas production, TEO can support producers that have higher environmental standards to valorize their production, as well as helping consumers to know where their gas supply comes from and therefore optimize their gas consumption impacts by favorizing supply with upstream emissions as “low carbon” as possible.