Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and SYSTEMIQ launch MiQ to tackle methane emissions from the oil and gas sector

MiQ, the independent, not-for-profit partnership between Rocky Mountain Institute and SYSTEMIQ, aims to facilitate a rapid reduction in methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.

MiQ has designed the MiQ Certification system, which, adopted at scale, will create a differentiated market for natural gas for buyers and sellers. MiQ Certification will be assessed against the MiQ Standard in an independent, third-party audited system.

Methane leaked into the atmosphere is, in the short term, a much more powerful climate pollutant than CO2. The oil and gas industry emits over 84 million tons of methane each year, which equates to the total emissions from the world’s on-road transport fleet. Therefore, it is vital and opportune to dramatically and urgently reduce methane emissions from the production of natural gas.

The first independently audited certification of its kind, the MiQ Certification, will work to complement existing voluntary schemes and regulations to rapidly reduce methane emissions in upstream gas production. This market-based certification will allow for the differentiation of the gas markets based on methane emissions performance and, therefore, generate different price levels that create an economic incentive for companies that are lagging behind to invest in methane abatement.

The MiQ Standard assesses natural gas production on a graded A-F scale. Unlike other frameworks, it goes beyond emission factors to assess methane emissions management across three criteria: methane emissions intensity at a facility level; monitoring technology deployment; and company practices. This three-pronged approach will ensure the MiQ Certification has credibility, transparency, and flexibility to evolve as technologies and best practices improve.

Gas buyers are also increasingly seeking guarantees about the provenance of LNG imports. MiQ Certification will enable buyers to verify the methane emission performance of gas entering the LNG streams, pre-liquefaction. The Standard is also being extended for emissions to be assessed across the entire LNG process.

MiQ has signed a memorandum of understanding with GCC to become the MiQ Certificate issuing and registry partner. GCC is currently the Central Issuer for the I-REC Standard, providing renewable energy certification for consumers around the globe. With 20 years’ experience in over 30 countries and more than 420 power projects certified, GCC will bring to MiQ Certification a proven track record in certificate issuing and registry management.

MiQ will now continue to work with the sector – including NGOs, regulators, government, environmentalists and researchers – to finalise the MiQ Standard. MiQ will announce its first pilot in 2021.

Speaking about the launch, Georges Tijbosch, Senior Adviser, MiQ, said: “The future must be powered by 100% clean energy. MiQ’s mission is to reduce the climate impact of methane emissions from the oil and gas sector until we get there.

“75% of methane emissions from oil and gas production can technically be abated today. That is equivalent to the reductions in CO2 emissions that’d be achieved if we could immediately shut down 60% of the world’s coal-fired power plants and replaced them with zero-emissions generation.

“But methane emission abatement regulation is taking too long and voluntary schemes are not having the impact needed. That is why MiQ Certification is a vital step forward now in methane abatement in the oil and gas industry.

“By credibly certifying gas based on its methane emissions performance, we can create a differentiated gas market. This will allow suppliers to make purchasing decisions based on the environmental impact of gas, creating a financial incentive for producers to invest in the technology, procedures and policies that reduce their methane emissions.”

Ed Everson, Director, GCC, said: “MiQ Certification has the potential to dramatically improve methane emissions abatement in the oil and gas sector. Credibly and efficiently differentiating gas based on its methane emissions performance will be a powerful tool for producers and consumers. With the potential to act as a financial catalyst, MiQ will encourage actions to reduce emissions of methane, an extremely damaging climate pollutant. This is an important step forward in the fight against climate change.

“We are excited to sign a memorandum of understanding with MiQ and work towards being the MiQ Certificate issuing and registry partner. This will build on our success as the Central Issuer for the I-REC Standard.”

Ned Harvey, Senior Adviser, MiQ and Managing Director, Rocky Mountain Institute, said: “Reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations is among the most significant actions we can take in the near term to help avert catastrophic climate change and improve the environmental performance of a fuel source that will continue to play an important role as we transition to renewable energy. With the right incentives and accountability frameworks, the global oil and gas industry can rapidly and substantially reduce their GHG emissions. A global methane emissions standard for differentiated natural gas can help enable the reductions we need in the next decade to meet our climate goals and help the industry go further by providing a universal standard that levels the international playing field and ensures everyone is assessed by the same rules.”

Read more about MiQ:
MiQ White Paper
MiQ website

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