North Sea oil rigs threatened with shut down unless they start running on green energy | UK | News

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North Sea oil rigs could be forced to shut down unless they commit to running on , regulators have warned. The North Sea Transition Authority’s new blueprint, published today (March 27), highlights “the need for action across the board on production “.

And while it insisted it was committed to working with oil and gas developers, failure to comply with stringent NSTA recommemdations may result in applications to continue operating in the sea being blocked.

Despite falls in recent years, the production of oil and gas in the UK contributes around three percent of the UK’s total , before taking into account the emissions produced when that oil and gas is burned.

This results in part from the energy which oil rigs and other operations use to transport staff and equipment, pump up oil and much else beside.

However, it also stems from practices such as venting or flaring – the process of either releasing unwanted gas into the atmosphere, or burning it on site without utilising the energy that it could produce.

Part of the mission would be to reduce venting and flaring, the latter is particularly harmful because it releases methane into the atmosphere, which is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

However, another way of decarbonising production is to start running oil rigs and other parts of the sector on green electricity.

This could, in the best case, save roughly one to two million tonnes of carbon in 2030 alone. That is the same as taking around one million cars off the road. By 2050, electrification could have saved a total of 22 million tonnes.

The NSTA warned companies that it might withhold its approval from projects if they are not electrified where it thinks they should be.

A spokesman explained: “The plan places electrification and low carbon power at the heart of emissions reduction and 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 and similar decisions that give access to future hydrocarbon resources on that asset.”

The authority pledged to would “apply the plan in a reasonable manner” and would avoid any unintended consequences.

NSTA chief executive Stuart Payne said: “Energy production, reducing emissions and accelerating the energy transition are at the heart of everything we do.

“The plan strikes the right balance in supporting industry in its work producing the oil and gas which we need and will continue to need in the coming decades, while at the same time playing its role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“The plan will help to secure the crucial part the North Sea will play in meeting the UK’s energy needs and provide reassurance that the industry can and does place a very high value in cleaning up production and cutting emissions.”

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