FAQ

Your questions answered

 

Read the frequently asked questions below that cover the who, what, why, when, and where of MiQ.

General questions

We are sure you have some questions…

1. Who is behind MiQ?

MiQ is an independent, not-for-profit partnership between Rocky Mountain Institute and SYSTEMIQ. The MiQ team comprises international experts from across the energy industry, traders, environmentalists, engineers, policymakers and researchers.

2. What is MiQ?
MiQ is an independent, not-for-profit partnership between Rocky Mountain Institute and SYSTEMIQ with the aim of rapidly reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector through certified differentiated gas.

MiQ is developing a practical Standard to provide a robust and reliable method to differentiate gas according to its methane emissions performance during production. Participating operators will be assessed across three criteria:

  1. Methane intensity
  2. Monitoring Technology Deployment
  3. Company Practices

Assessment according to the Standard will inform MiQ Certification. MiQ Certification is an independent system designed to provide transparency and accountability on methane abatement. It is a graduated certification scheme that creates a differentiated market for natural gas based on methane emissions performance.

This differentiation of gas will result in different price levels in the market depending on methane emissions during production. The different price levels will create an economic incentive for companies that are lagging behind to invest in upgrades to reduce methane emissions.

3. Why focus on methane emissions in the oil and gas sector?

The science is clear – we need to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. This means that we have to fundamentally redesign and radically transition our energy systems to emit little to no carbon, and soon. This requires an all-hands-on deck strategy – scaling renewable energies and other critical technologies like never before, and phasing out fossil fuels as soon as we can in most, if not all, end uses. We’ve made some progress, thanks in large part to scientists, climate change activists, governments, and the energy industry, but we still have a long way to go.

Until sustainable alternatives to natural gas are available at scale and our energy infrastructure is redesigned away from fossil fuels, we need to ensure that the gas we do use has a minimal climate impact, especially in terms of its methane emissions footprint. It is vital that we dramatically reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector to make the transition as clean as possible.

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a much more powerful climate pollutant than CO2 but only persists in the atmosphere for about a decade. This makes it a critical and opportune target for climate change mitigation in the short term. Catalysing efforts to reduce emissions of methane is necessary to slow the expenditure of our remaining carbon budget, buying time for CO2 mitigation solutions to mature. Globally, human-made methane emissions increased by 1.3 percent every year for the last decade, and by 1.7 percent in 2018 alone. 

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.

4. What gets certified?

MiQ Certification will initially tackle methane emissions from upstream natural gas production, and will certify natural gas (including associated gas) produced at onshore and offshore facilities.

The MiQ standard defines an offshore facility as an offshore gas production platform. An onshore facility is the sum of a producer’s wells in a geologic basin. However, we recognize that this definition may not match the way companies define and organize their assets globally, so during the pilot phase of the standard over the next year we will enable producers to certify a subset of their wells within a given basin to test the concept. After the pilot period, we will refine this definition and to ensure that the final definition is appropriately meaningful, pragmatic, and globally applicable.

5. Which parts of the supply chain does MiQ certify?

MiQ certifies gas production upstream (both onshore and offshore production). However, the program requires reasonable proof of transport towards the consumer hub of the buyer, typically up to an import or entry point. This is because we feel that it is important for the methane emissions performance and abatement claims to be rooted in physical, rather than purely virtual, connections.

6. When will MiQ launch?

Our current Standard is ready for both onshore and offshore pilots, which will take place over the course of 2021. These pilots will road-test the Standard and enable us to learn what works, what doesn’t, and what is needed to ensure that MiQ is valuable to all stakeholders.

Over time, MiQ Certification will expand to other segments of the natural gas supply chain. In the near term, MiQ is working to develop requirements and certification processes for LNG and other elements of the supply chain.

7. Where will MiQ operate?

MiQ is a globally applicable Standard and Certification system. Detailed logistics will likely look different in every geography, depending on the nature of gas markets and regional regulations.

8. What does MiQ stand for?

MiQ stands for Methane Intelligence. Reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector is critical to limiting global temperature rise, and we need to act fast. MiQ Certification ensures that methane emissions from gas production are monitored, assessed, and mitigated in an intelligent way. This means providing a universally applicable, dynamic Standard that will evolve as technology develops to ensure we are able make the energy transition as clean as possible.

9. How much does certification cost?

MiQ is a not-for-profit organisation and has no commercial interest in the uptake of certification. The cost of certification is dependent on the cost of the independent auditors, which will vary depending on the company and the complexity and size of the asset seeking certification. There will also be a small administrative fee, which will be used to operate and maintain the registry.

10. How are auditors selected?

To ensure transparency and enable the MiQ Certification to be used around the world, gas operators can choose any independent auditor as long as the auditor meets the accreditation requirements. Auditors are required to have a proven track record of working in upstream production environments and in-depth methane emissions calculation, monitoring, and mitigation expertise.

11. How are the audits checked?

Auditor reports, which comprehensively evaluate a facility’s methane emissions performance and recommend a certificate grade, will be reviewed by the MiQ Certificate Issuing Body. Once approved, the MiQ Certificates will be issued into the central registry. MiQ has engaged GCC (the central issuer for I-REC certificates) to help design and provide the Issuing Body and Registry functions.

12. What claims can producers and buyers make about MiQ Certification?

While the objective of MiQ is of course to enable and incentivise methane emissions abatement, it’s intentionally not an emissions offset or emissions reduction certification program. This is because we don’t believe that methane emissions reduction claims, at this scale, are credible enough today. Instead, the MiQ Standard evaluates methane emissions performance – evaluated holistically across three indicators (methane intensity, company practices, and monitoring technology deployment) – to ensure that emissions are managed not only in theory and on average, but also consistently and in practice.

Natural gas, including that certified by MiQ, is not “green”, “clean”, “low-carbon”, or “low-methane”. But it certainly can be more and less responsibly produced, and can have lower and higher methane emissions footprints.

MiQ certifies gas with a grade, ranging from A to F, which indicates its methane emissions performance. Producers and consumers can use the MiQ brand to state they are producing or purchasing a certain grade of certified gas. “A” grade gas will have a lower methane intensity and better emissions mitigation and management than grades B and lower.

13. How will MiQ be implemented and how does it relate to regulation?

MiQ will start as a voluntary market, and we are looking to conduct a series of pilots during 2021. Methane abatement and transparency can thus start today. We are working in parallel to complement existing and future regulations. We think MiQ can add significant value to regulation, especially in jurisdictions or situations where most gas is imported, and therefore the regulator doesn’t have the direct ability to influence emissions associated with gas production. We welcome discussions with regulators and policymakers on what value MiQ can bring to regulation.