Inform and Reform: Methane emissions in LNG

MiQ Senior Advisers Georges Tijbosch and Saima Yarrow were thrilled to be joined by a panel of LNG experts from around the world to discuss the pressing need to reduce methane emissions in the LNG sector and the LNG methane emissions standard which MiQ and Carbon Limit have developed.

The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, published earlier this year, makes it clear that “there is no time to waste in reducing methane emissions,” as Georges stated in his opening remarks.

Stephanie Saunier, Managing Director at Carbon Limits, outlined the need for a credible, transparent, and ambitious methane certification system for the LNG sector. This need for certification is driven by a wide-range of climate, technical and commercial factors. For example, Stephanie pointed out there is real demand from consumers to implement a certification scheme which allows them to understand the environmental impact of their LNG cargoes.

In her introduction to MiQ’s certification system, Saima observed that “all gas is not equal”, and that different gas supplies have vastly different greenhouse gas emission intensities. To address this, MiQ has developed a three-pronged approach to certify gas based on methane emissions performance.

1.5% of global gas production — or approximately 10% of all the EU’s gas consumption — is already under audit for MiQ Certification. MiQ’s certification scheme can be worked into the LNG value chain to bring about a clearer picture of methane emissions in any given cargo.

The Q&A section of the webinar began with Rogier Beaumont, Global Head of LNG Origination and Environmental Solutions at Pavilion Energy, explaining that there must be a ‘stick and carrot’ approach with to methane abatement in the LNG sector. The stick comes in the form of regulation, such as the EU Methane Strategy. However, there is also an incentive for gas buyers to understand the emissions intensity of the gas they purchase.

“It’s the same as when you go to the supermarket and you buy a packet of biscuits, you want to know what’s inside the box,” Rogier added.

Vincent Demoury, Secretary General of the International Association of LNG Importers (GIIGNL), echoed Rogier’s remarks, saying he has observed a growing desire from GIIGNL members across the world to address the issue of methane emissions in the LNG sector. Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) methodologies for methane emissions can still be improved, however.

“LNG is a global business so if you want to tackle the problem, you have to tackle it from a global angle,” Vincent said.

Taku Ide, Decarbonisation Strategy Lead at Origin Energy, noted that the common purpose uniting stakeholders in the drive for methane abatement in the LNG sector is the need for more accurate emissions measurement. As emissions monitoring and measurement improves, the next challenge for the industry will be to figure out how to integrate these measurements into emerging standards, like MiQ’s certification scheme.

The panel concluded with Georges asking the panellists to state their top priority for reducing methane emissions in 2022.

“2021 was the year where we spotted [methane] super-emitters, and 2022 should be the year we address them,” Stephanie said.

Vincent called for the introduction of a global database to track greenhouse gas emissions associated with LNG cargoes. He believes that more data will become available as markets set higher expectations for transparency.

Rogier urged the shipping industry to do more to address methane leakage from LNG cargoes so that gas buyers and sellers can choose shipping companies that are actively taking steps to curtail emissions.

Saima is eager to see more transparent and credible efforts to reduce methane emissions in the LNG value chain, by using certification schemes like MiQ’s. Moreover, she hopes the gas producers and operators who have adopted — and who will adopt — the MiQ standard will begin to move up the grading scale as they reduce the methane emissions associated with their LNG value chain.

Similarly, Taku hopes the oil and gas market will begin to coalesce around a standard, like MiQ’s, that will enable them to quantifiably certify and reduce their methane emissions.

Georges is optimistic that by 2030, the oil and gas industry can achieve an 80% reduction in methane emissions, compared to 2019 when the oil and gas industry emitted an estimated 84 Mt of methane.

We would like to extend our appreciation to the panellists and attendees for a such lively and informative discussion on methane emissions in the global LNG market. It was heartening to see so much engagement from the audience on the topic.