Upstream Methane Reduction

The natural gas supply chain is one of the most effective energy distribution networks available today. According to the EPA, 1.3% of natural gas is lost or emitted during its path from wellhead to customer.

But these emissions are very important to reduce because of their near-term warming impact.

Emissions from the distribution sector are low, and as the operator of one of the most modern systems in the country, NW Natural has already replaced all leak-prone pipe. To drive real savings, it’s necessary to look upstream of our pipeline system to production at the wellhead.

Responsible Suppliers

NW Natural purchases natural gas from Canada and the Rocky Mountain region, two of the most stringently regulated production areas in North America, with lower methane leaks. Because upstream natural gas production and processing are where the bulk of emissions occur10 in the value chain, we’re also working with like-minded industry members and trade groups to encourage producers to adopt best practices.

NW Natural is a proud member of ONE Future, a coalition of more than 40 companies that set a goal of voluntarily reducing methane emissions across the natural gas value chain to 1% or less by 2025—a goal the membership is already exceeding by a wide margin.

We were also one of the first utilities in the nation to develop and implement an emissions-screening tool that allows us to include environmental impact as one of the key considerations in our supply purchases (alongside other key purchasing criteria such as price, credit worthiness and geographic diversity) and prioritize responsible producers with our contracts. Since implementing this scorecard in 2018, we’ve reduced the methane leakage rate associated with our purchases from the Rocky Mountain region by roughly 20%.

Understanding methane

Methane fact sheet