LONDON – Britain’s North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has fined three offshore operators for emissions and production-related incidents.
EnQuest must pay £150,000 ($182,824) after flaring an excess of 262 metric tons of gas on the Magnus Field in the East Shetland basin in the northern UK North Sea between November 30 and December 1, 2021, without having the required consent in place.
Equinor has also been fined for flaring at least 348 metric tons of CO2 above the level permitted on the Barnacle field between June and November 2020 - in this case, the penalty is £65,000 ($79,230). Barnacle produces via an extended reach well drilled from the Statfjord B platform across the median line in the Norwegian North Sea.
Finally, Spirit Energy has received a fine of £50,000 (£60,946) for exceeding the maximum allowed production volumes from two fields over three years. According to the authority, producing too much oil and gas can reduce overall long-term production from a reservoir, so when an operator wants to raise production, it must first apply for a new consent so that plans plan can be assessed.
All three operators have cooperated fully with the NSTA’s investigations, the authority added, conducted their own internal reviews and have since taken steps to avoid repeats of these breaches.
Jane de Lozey, NSTA Director of Regulation, said: “We are encouraged by recent improvements on emissions and will take action to ensure this vital work is not undermined by companies who fail to meet their obligations.”
Despite the infringements, progress across the UK North Sea area on reducing flaring and venting has been encouraging, the authority added, with overall emissions from production activities down 21.5% between 2018-21.