Auditors: the unsung heroes of climate accountability

Can you imagine a world where sports matches happened without referees, or where students were always allowed to mark their own homework?

It would be chaos – and no one would trust the results without an independent third-party to verify there had been no cheating and everyone was treated fairly.

The same logic needs to apply to methane emissions.

Methane emissions are 84x more damaging than CO2 and the oil and gas sector makes a significant – yet avoidable – contribution of this potent GHG to the atmosphere each year. The problem is a lack of transparency about the levels of emissions and too few incentives to improve.

MiQ is the only truly independent and global certification system for methane emissions from natural gas. A partnership with MiQ enables operators to demonstrate a credible evaluation of methane emissions performance and shows buyers that an operator is committed to transparency and improvement.

The whole system is designed to be independent and free from conflict of interests – to avoid perverse incentives, where profits are made for giving out top marks. The MiQ Standard is open source; technology neutral because there’s no panacea tech yet; and most importantly of all, it is third-party audited by another party than MiQ.

It’s crucial that the auditors are a separate entity to the Standard setter so that there is a genuine third-party check on performance. In sport, referees oversee matches by following the rulebook set by the governing body, such as FIFA in soccer or the NBA in basketball. MiQ’s auditors play a similar role, assessing operators against the Standard set by MiQ.

This distinction is fundamentally important because, as we’ve said before, it prevents conflicts of interest and, importantly, motivation. We feel that systems where the Standard setter audits its own standard and are looking to make a profit are potentially open to exploitation, and we’ve deliberately designed our system and governance to avoid that possible slippery slope.

MiQ’s whole Certification system relies on independent, third-party auditors who are expert in methane emissions management, calculation and monitoring in the oil and gas sector. We believe it’s the only way to guarantee trust in the system and it builds in safeguards that just aren’t possible in self-assessed certification schemes.

Just like a referee in a sports match makes sure both sides are treated fairly, and teachers who are experts in their field mark each student’s homework, our third-party auditors judge all operators by the same MiQ Standard.

We are proud to be working with eight accredited third-party auditors already:

All our accredited auditors are required to have stringent processes in place to retain integrity, transparency and trust, following the ISO 19011 guidelines. In addition to several years of corporate and individual experience in environmental compliance audits, MiQ requires auditors to be experts in Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) programmes (e.g. EN 15446), oil & gas operations and GHG accounting (e.g. ISO 14065).

Operators engage and pay for the auditors to carry out a rigorous assessment of methane emissions performance at a facility level against the MiQ Standard. MiQ reviews the audit report for a final check before approving the facility for certification.

At the end of a sports match or a school term, you need to be able to trust that the results are fair and reflect the actual performance of each team or student. Just like referees and teachers in their respective fields, third party auditors guarantee that credibility for MiQ’s Certification scheme.

The number of companies seeking certification is constantly growing and we already certify 10 bcf per day of the world’s gas – equating to approximately 2.5% of the global gas market, and we’re aiming to get to 100% this decade.

The more companies seeking certification, the greater the need for third party auditors with proven expertise to carry out the audits of facilities. As the market for certified gas grows, so too does the market for third party auditors, and we welcome companies with the proven expertise to seek accreditation.

Contact [email protected] to find out more.