North Sea producers told to slash emissions or be shut down


ENERGY companies operating in the North Sea could be forced to close oil and gas fields unless they slash emissions, under regulations from the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA).

The North Sea regulator has told producers that platforms must be converted to run on green electricity or low-carbon fuels.

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All new developments prior to 2030 must be designed to run on electricity, while those after must be fully electrified from the start.

Concerns have been raised about the cost to electrify platforms which date back to the 1970s and 1980s.

Nearly 300 oil and gas platforms in UK waters account for 3% of the country’s total emissions, but the sector also accounts for half of the country’s energy needs.

The NSTA’s Chief Executive Stuart Payne said closing some older platforms in order to allow newer, higher-producing, cleaner assets to come online could be a necessity.

The authority also said flaring must end by 2030: “While progress has been made, with industry flaring volumes having decreased by around 50% since 2018, and some flaring is unavoidable for safety and operational reasons, the NSTA has been clear that more must be done to prevent the wasteful flaring of gas and expects the reductions to continue.

It continued: “This plan places electrification and low carbon power at the heart of emissions reduction.

“It makes it clear that where the NSTA considers electrification reasonable, but it has not been done, there should be no expectation that the NSTA will approve field development plans that give access to future hydrocarbon resources in that asset.”

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