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UK: NSTA shares highlights from the first 12 months

24 Mar 2023

Photo - see caption

One year ago today (21 March), the North Sea Transition Authority was born. We changed our name from the Oil and Gas Authority to reflect our expanded role, which includes emissions monitoring and carbon storage licensing. 

And also to reflect the changing world. Oil and gas currently meet around three-quarters of UK energy requirements, and all forecasts show that they will be needed for decades to come. But the UK is still an energy importer and we must do everything we can to reduce the reliance on import – to ensure our energy security and reach net zero. 

To achieve that we must work towards an orderly transition to renewables. Our name, North Sea Transition Authority, reflects those ambitions. 

We have achieved a great deal in the past year, continuing to regulate and support the oil and gas industry, but also embedding ourselves more deeply in the ongoing debate about energy security and net zero and playing a growing role in those areas. 

In the past year we have taken countless decisions, implemented actions across our remit, written reports, undertaken investigations and much more. Too many to count and far too many to document here. 

But we’d like to share a few of the highlights of those 12 months: 

April 2022: We announced our continued commitment to work with The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland recognising that the North Sea has enormous potential as a critical resource and that we need to work together to realise that potential. 

May 2022: We awarded bp/Equinor carbon storage licences, taking the total in the UK to six, and we highlighted the positive outlook for the supply chain as we identified £5bn of work available in the pipeline. 

June 2022: A busy time as we not only launched the UK’s first-ever carbon storage licensing round, offering 13 locations of exciting potential, but also released a new tool to maximise infrastructure repurposing and potentially save industry billions of pounds, and published reports from winners of a competition to identify ideas to progress platform electrification

July 2022: The Rough storage facility moved a step closer to reopening when we awarded a gas storage licence, we set up one of the UK’s first non-executive director job shares, and we took part in creating the Offshore Energy Digital Strategy Group to drive North Sea growth and modernisation. 

August 2022: Following many years of intensive work with industry, we were able to announce that the UKCS decommissioning cost estimate had been cut by 25% to £44.5bn, and the National Data Repository continued to provide vital information to aid exploration and the energy transition by offering 230 terabytes of data. 

September 2022: We announced that the Carbon Storage Licensing Round had attracted 26 bids from 19 companies for the 13 areas on offer, showing the growing interest in the new technology across the industry. In the same month, our second Emissions Monitoring Report revealed that North Sea emissions were down more than 20% since 2018. 

October 2022: A major step forward for energy security when we launched the 33rd Oil and Gas Licensing Round offering more than 900 blocks to bidders. 

November 2022: This month we streamlined our service to industry by scrapping the Cessation of Production process freeing up valuable time and money to focus on core operations, and also challenged industry to greater efforts by asking for a further 10% cut in decommissioning costs in the next five years.  

December 2022: The Bacton project, which could provide clean energy for up to 20 million homes and businesses, took a significant step forward when we hosted a special event to formally publish the Business Opportunity report. We also issued a report which showed that industry is making good progress on Environmental, Social and Governance reporting. 

January 2023: We were pleased to announce that the 33rd Oil and Gas Licensing Round had attracted 115 bids across 258 blocks or part-blocks. 

February 2023: Demonstrating our commitment to the energy transition, we set up a dedicated carbon transport and storage team, and the Energy Pathfinder tool, which highlights contract opportunities to the supply chain, reported that it had grown to 1,700 subscribers and offered 136 projects. 

March 2023: We were able to announce that following prolonged engagement by the NSTA, flaring on the North Sea has been halved in four years, the 2022 saving alone was equivalent to the gas demand of 80,000 UK homes

See original announcement to view a video accompanying these highlights.

Original article link

Source: NSTA

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