The deal follows comments from the World Bank earlier this year that Qatar was expected to join an initiative by the end of 2008 aimed at cutting gas flaring in the region.

QP says the findings from its inspection programme would be used to create a comprehensive environmental database covering all of the state-run firm’s operations.

SGS is also contracted to carry out compliance testing of the incinerator facility at Halul island, which houses a number of QP’s giant crude oil storage tanks.

Although Qatar remains one of the largest gas flaring countries in the region, with about 3 billion cubic metres emitted each year, QP has been taking steps to reduce that amount.

In 2007 it registered the Middle East’s first Kyoto-compliant carbon credit scheme to reduce gas flaring by about 80 per cent at its Al-Shaheen oil field.