EQT Announces Net-Zero Goal for 2025,
Looks to Become Major Provider of Clean Hydrogen
by Amanda Waltz
July 14, 2021
As natural gas production in the United States grows, questions arise over just how clean the energy source is when it comes to carbon emissions. EQT Corporation, a Pittsburgh-based natural gas production company, responded to this by pledging to drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
At the end of June, EQT announced the release of its Environmental, Social and Governance, aka ESG Report, described in a press release as outlining the company's "2020 operational data and initiatives implemented to continuously improve the way it produces environmentally responsible, reliable, and low-cost energy." Part of this includes setting targets to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas and methane emissions in its Production segment operations by or before 2025.
Being net zero — also referred to as carbon neutral— is defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as "consuming only as much energy as produced, achieving a sustainable balance between water availability and demand, and eliminating solid waste sent to landfills."
"The actions that we have taken in the last year have set EQT on the path to be net zero by 2025, if not sooner," says EQT CEO Toby Rice in a press release. "Bolstering this ambition is our ability to leverage technology and innovation that not only improves our operational efficiencies but lessens our environmental impact.”
As reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rice says he believes EQT, touted as the largest producer of natural gas in the U.S., could become the lowest-cost producer of hydrogen, made from natural gas captured from EQT's wells.
Currently, EQT has hydraulic fracking wells throughout New York, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, including in the Greene and Washington counties located in the southwestern part of the state.
The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy says that hydrogen, when consumed in a fuel cell, produces only water, making it a clean fuel option. It can be produced from natural gas, as well as nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind.
Rice thinks hydrogen, converted from EQT’s natural gas, could be used to displace diesel in transportation. According to the EPA, exhaust from diesel, a common fuel used in large trucks and other machines, contributes to "serious human health and environmental effects" by releasing oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and other hazardous pollutants into the air.
"Natural gas is the proven abundant, reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible energy source," says Rice in a press release. "EQT is uniquely positioned as the largest pure-play natural gas producer to build upon its already industry-leading performance and demonstrate the true benefits of natural gas."
The report laid out other ways EQT has worked to lower its carbon footprint, including claims that, by transitioning to electric frac fleets in 2020, the company will eliminate over 23 million gallons of diesel fuel from its operations annually. The company is also launching a $75 million fund to invest in technologies that "promote natural gas while lowering EQT’s carbon footprint."
The company also joined the Oil & Gas Methane Partnership 2.0 Initiative, a global effort to better track and report methane emissions.
EQT adds to a growing list of energy companies setting ambitious goals to lower their environmental impact. At the same time as EQT's big announcement, another Pittsburgh entity, the United States Steel Corporation, made an agreement with another company to study the potential for carbon capture and storage and hydrogen development in the tri-state region of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, according to a press release. U.S. Steel targeted hitting net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Major players like Royal Dutch Shell and Occidental Petroleum Corp. also plan to go net-zero by 2050 and 2040, respectively.
Rice told the PG that he hopes EQT can help lead the Pittsburgh region towards reducing its carbon emissions, especially by creating a market for hydrogen and satisfying the domestic and international demand for clean energy. For example, EQT has already looked at supplying the Allegheny County Port Authority should the major public transportation provider switch to hydrogen-powered buses.
“Our 2020 ESG Report outlines our strategy for reducing our emissions and how we view our role in accelerating a transition to a low carbon future," says Rice.