By Kelvey Vander Hart
Energy companies, particularly operators of pipelines, have fallen under intense scrutiny from American environmentalists over the last few years. News headlines often blow the pros and cons of policy regarding pipeline operation and natural gas use out of proportion. Many operators have been demonized, but companies like Houston-based Cheniere Energy are proving that energy producers and exporters can make a huge positive impact on the environment.
Who is Cheniere?
Cheniere began producing and exporting liquified natural gas in 2016 from its Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana. Since then, they have grown to be the largest producer of liquified natural gas in the United States and the second-largest producer in the entire world. They were the fastest company to produce and export 1,000 cargoes of liquified natural gas, and their investment in energy infrastructure now totals more than $38 billion.
Liquified natural gas (LNG) brings definite environmental benefits. It makes a cleaner-burning source of fuel, natural gas, that was once hard to transport exportable. As LNG is exported across the globe, it can be used in various positive ways, such as a substitute for coal.
As an American company operating globally, Cheniere understands that climate change is not isolated to any one nation. Exporting low-emitting American LNG is an important and effective solution that is helping to reduce carbon emissions. Although this company is relatively new to the global marketplace, it is not just relying on its product to make an environmental difference. Cheniere is quickly becoming a leader in private-sector sustainability.
What do Cheniere’s clean energy commitments look like?
Cheniere proudly acknowledges that LNG is already helping create a cleaner future:
“We recognize the scientific consensus related to human influence on climate change and the dual challenge of providing affordable energy to a growing global population while transitioning to a lower-carbon future. We see natural gas as a fundamental component within this transition, and aim to support our customers in meeting their climate and environmental goals.”
However, their commitment to the environment involves more than simply producing LNG. The company abides by a set of Climate and Sustainability Principles that they established in 2018. These principles involve promoting and following peer-reviewed science, reducing environmental impacts throughout the supply chain, communicating openly and proactively with stakeholders, and designing facilities that reduce the environmental impact of operations.
And Cheniere does not expect these results to be magically achieved – they recognize that it takes dedicated individuals focused on achieving such victories. For that reason, they implemented a corporate responsibility program. This program is overseen by a management-level working group comprised of individuals from a cross-section of departments. Key departments represented in this working group include climate and sustainability, corporate environmental, and supply chain management – this ensures that environmental goals are well defended and highlighted.
In working toward their supply chain goals, Cheniere achieved an important environmental achievement in 2021: carbon-neutral shipping. Earlier this year, the LNG producer signed a long-term agreement with Royal Dutch Shell for environmentally sustainable delivery of LNG. Cheniere purchased carbon offsets and shipped a carbon-neutral load of LNG from Louisiana to Europe.
This carbon neutrality is not going to be an anomaly in Cheniere’s operations. The company has already announced plans to begin aggressively tracking the emissions for every cargo load it ships beginning in 2022, an industry first that will provide necessary data for future carbon reduction. Additionally, Cheniere Chief Executive Jack Fusco noted during the company’s 2021 first-quarter earnings call, “I think offering climate solutions to our customers is going to be a bigger and bigger portion of our business.” This statement hints at bolder strides to come from the company, specifically in the realm of carbon reduction.
Cheniere is a great example of an energy producer and exporter making huge strides toward sustainability. For American market-based environmentalists, this form of corporate responsibility is more than laudable; it is the future.
Kelvey Vander Hart is a native Iowan and a senior staff writer for the American Conservation Coalition.