The UK North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) introduced a consultation on its proposed new emissions reduction plan to encourage oil and gas operators to take action and in future investment decisions to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and get on long-term reduction pathways.
Production emissions have reduced significantly in recent years, but still account for around 3% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions and, even as demand declines, domestic oil and gas will still be required for decades to come.
Significant progress has been made, but there is more work to be done and the NSTA estimates that without further initiatives, the 2030 emissions reduction target agreed between government and industry as part of the North Sea Transition Deal may be missed. The NSTA is taking a basin-wide approach to emissions reductions, and pressing industry using robust regulation and management and launching the Plan consultation.
The draft Plan sets out the NSTA’s proposed requirements for how the industry can meet its obligations regarding emissions reductions from oil and gas production. The Plan is broken down into four areas: investment and efficiency; platform electrification and low carbon power; inventory; and flaring and venting.
Power generation was responsible for 79% of platform emissions in 2022, so electrification could deliver carbon savings of up to two million tonnes/yr by 2030, equivalent to removing one million cars off the road for a year, and a total of up to 22 million tonnes by 2050, greater than the annual emissions of Northern Ireland. The North Sea Transition Deal, agreed by the UK government and industry, set targets of 10% emissions reduction by 2025, 25% by 2027 and 50% in 2030, before reaching net zero in 2050.
“It is essential that industry continues to reduce its emissions. Progress is tough and will require investment, collaborative effort and detailed planning. We are publishing the draft Plan today for consultation, to give clarity on requirements now and for the long term,” said Stuart Payne, NSTA Chief Executive.