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Wyoming’s Jonah Energy Wins Recognition For Improvements In Emission Tracking

in Energy/News
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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A Wyoming natural gas company has received recognition from an international program for providing detailed measurements of the methane emissions from its natural gas field.

Jonah Energy has achieved the “Gold Standard” in the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership, a United Nations-sponsored program, for its efforts to accurately report emissions from its production fields.

Paul Ulrich, Jonah’s vice present for government and regulatory affairs, said the achievement is the result of Jonah’s efforts to provide actual verified data on the methane emissions from equipment at the fields rather than estimates created using mathematical formulas.

The OGMP is a partnership involving environmental groups and members of the oil and gas industry that is designed to improve the accuracy of emission data being collected around the world. The resulting standardized emission measurements are expected to make it easier to track methane emission changes and reduce emissions.

Ulrich said Jonah won the “gold standard” recognition by meeting 85% of the reporting criteria set forth by the OGMP and by putting plans in place for increasing accuracy and reducing emissions in the future.

“It’s a recognition that our work to date and our commitment to further reduce emissions and migrate to direct emission measurements is meeting their criteria,” he said.

Achieving the “gold standard” shows that natural gas can be a very clean energy source, he added.

“For us, it means we’ve taken another step in leading the industry and demonstrating to the public that natural gas can be a clean foundational energy source for decades to Coe if we continue to produce it much cleaner than we have in the past,” he said. “We’ve laid that foundation.”

He added Jonah has already reduced its potential for methane emissions by 68% over the last three years.

Jonah Energy is one of two natural gas companies to have joined the OGMP. The other is EQT, which produces natural gas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

Jonah’s accomplishment won praise from an official with the United Nations Environmental Programme.

“We applaud Jonah Energy’s leadership and congratulate Jonah for being the first US company to reach the highest standard for their methane reporting plan in the oil and gas industry,” said Manfredi Caltagirone.

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Jonah Energy Joins Global Effort To Reduce Methane Emissions In Energy Production

in Energy/News
Jonah Field
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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A Wyoming natural gas company has become the first in the country to join an international program designed to show that energy producers are working to reduce their methane emissions.

Jonah Energy has become the first American oil and gas producer to submit methane emissions data to the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership, a United Nations-sponsored program.

The data will be used to create a global uniform platform that allows participating companies to demonstrate how much they have reduced emissions and what steps they plan to take to further reduce emissions, said Paul Ulrich, Jonah’s vice president of government and regulatory affairs.

The information will be used to show buyers, end consumers and regulators exactly what steps Jonah is taking to reduce its emissions, Ulrich said.

“From an economic standing alone, pivoting Wyoming to provide the cleanest natural gas in the country is vital,” he said. “For us to be able to compete and grow in a national and global market, we have to provide the cleanest natural gas possible. This is a first significant step.”

Jonah is working to earn the “Gold Standard” emissions rating from the OGMP, Ulrich said, which will show the steps the company has agreed to take to carefully monitor and reduce emissions.

“The ‘Gold Standard’ says you’ve committed to steps you take for continuous improvement,” he said. “It gives consumers and regulators confidence in and transparency into our market.”

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Jonah Energy VP: Despite Hurdles, Natural Gas Industry Can Stabilize and Grow

in Energy/News
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By Ike Fredregill, Cowboy State Daily

A cleaner energy product could provide the ladder needed by Wyoming’s natural gas industry to climb out of a hole dug by years of low prices, high regulatory fees, and finally, the pandemic, an industry leader said.

“The challenges for natural gas producers have been growing for a number of years,” said Paul Ulrich, vice president of government and regulatory affairs at Jonah Energy LLC. “And, what we are facing today is clearly a perfect storm.”

With only two natural gas rigs operating in the state, Ulrich said Wyoming hasn’t seen natural gas rig counts this low since the 1940s.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. natural gas market was flooded with cheap product. Oil producers in the Permian Basin, an oil field covering parts of Texas and New Mexico, drew up an abundance of natural gas as a byproduct of oil drilling.

“There was a glut of natural gas on the market,” Ulrich explained. “The price differential (to extract natural gas in Wyoming) puts us at a disadvantage in the marketplace.”

In Wyoming, natural gas producers drill for gas and pull up a small portion of oil as a byproduct, Ulrich explained.

Because Wyoming’s producers focus on natural gas production, their operating costs are higher, making it difficult to compete against oil producers, he said.

But when oil production slowed to a crawl in the U.S. as a result of a price war between Russia and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) earlier this year, Ulrich said an opportunity opened for natural gas producers.

“I strongly believe that if we as a state collectively make smart and major decisions that remove financial and regulatory hurdles, we have the opportunity to not only stabilize, but grow the industry back to pre-2019 production rates,” he said.  

A key factor in regrowing Wyoming’s natural gas sector would be the willingness of producers to adapt to cleaner energy demands.

“The market is extremely interested in consuming more responsibly produced energy,” Ulrich said.

Taking part in a program designed to encourage the responsible production of natural gas, Ulrich said Jonah Energy qualified its product as low emissions and also reduced surface disturbances by working with state agencies and researchers on best practices.

The company earned a gold TrustWell rating, a score developed by the Independent Energy Standards Inc. to rank natural gas producers based on responsibility metrics across a range of risks and impacts. Jonah is also the first producer in the nation to receive TrustWell’s Verified Attribute for Low-Methane.

“From our standpoint, the whims of the market are one thing,” Ulrich said. “But if we can provide a cleaner source of natural gas, a more responsibly produced natural gas, we believe there’s a place in the market for it.” 

Jonah is exploring options for opening another rig in July, which could bring the state’s count up to three, he added.

As the Wyoming Energy Authority’s vice chairman, Ulrich said he was working with the state to help position Wyoming once again as a competitive market for natural gas producers.

“The authority is envisioned as a one-stop shop for developers, who want more information and help finding opportunities in Wyoming,” he explained. “Natural gas is a tremendous feed stock for a myriad of manufacturing processes, and could be a tremendous opportunity to diversify our economy.”

Both the Legislature and Governor Mark Gordon’s office have been supportive of the industry, he said, but the state has some work to do before natural gas can return to its former glory.

“Our best path forward — as a state and energy producers — is working together toward a shared goal,” Ulrich said. “The most important thing we can do as a state is remove any and all barriers to capital investment as well encourage and incentivize Wyoming operators, whether drilling for natural gas or oil.”

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