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Northeast Natural Energy achieves certification for responsible energy production

MORGANTOWN – Local natural gas producer Northeast Natural Energy announced Tuesday that it has achieved the first of two national-level certifications it is seeking that recognize responsible production practices.

The certifications verify adherence to what’s called ESG standards: environmental, social and governance. These standards cover a range of issues from emissions to corporate governance.

Northeast has achieved Equitable Origin’s EO100 Standard for Responsible Energy Development.

Equitable Origin is a nonprofit that certifies energy production based on five principles: corporate governance and ethics; social impacts, human rights and community engagement; Indigenous Peoples’ rights; occupational health and safety and fair labor standards; and environmental impacts, biodiversity and climate change.

“The Equitable Origin process was pretty involved,” said Northeast’s President and CEO Mike John. Auditors met with staff, visited well sites, inspected equipment, compiled a lot of documentation. Going forward, John expects an annual review of the process for certification renewal.

Northeast is based in Charleston and has a Morgantown office at the waterfront. It produces dry gas – essentially just methane – and has extensive operations in Monongalia County.

The certification, John said, reflects Northeast’s view of being a small local company with about 50 employees.

“Really what we’re focused on is the area that we work in, the impact that we have on the environment, the impact that we have on the community,” he said. EO100 certification goes beyond just emissions.

“I felt like it was a high standard to seek, but I also felt like it was very consistent with how we run our business. … Our group is really proud of what they do and they’re thrilled to be able to do it in northern West Virginia. … It’s a great fit to have an opportunity to step into this type of evaluation. I think everybody’s really excited from our team’s standpoint.”

John expects that they’ll achieve the second certification in the next month or so. This is the MiQ methane standard. Northeast explains that the standard is independent, third-party audited, quantitative and graded across a sliding A-F scale based on three metrics: Methane intensity, company practices and methane detection technology deployment.

Responsible Energy Solutions, a Houston-based consultant firm, is conducting the audits for both certifications.

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