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    UK Changes Upstream Focus


The upstream regulator is focusing on the government's net-zero carbon ambitions.

by: William Powell

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UK Changes Upstream Focus

UK upstream regulator Oil & Gas Authority now has a revised strategy that focuses on the ongoing energy transition and features a range of net zero obligations on the oil and gas industry, it said February 11. It was put to both houses of parliament in December and met no opposition.

The OGA was set up as an arms'-length regulator outside the energy and industry ministry, so ending the relationship between the licensee and government. This was recommended by the Wood Report, commissioned by the government in 2013, the OGA's goal at the outset being to maximise the economic recovery of oil and gas reserves.

The new strategy includes stepping up efforts to reduce production emissions; support carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects; and unlock clean hydrogen production.

Oil and gas provide around three quarters of UK energy consumption and government forecasts show they will remain part of the energy mix for the foreseeable future. The OGA will monitor carbon emissions closely and ensure that carbon costs are considered in regulatory decisions.

It said guidance documents are being updated to help industry understand how operations may need to alter in order to achieve the new requirements. A new stewardship expectation is also being developed to reflect the revised Strategy and its net zero target. Further information on the revised Strategy and how it will impact on the oil and gas industry is available here.

A number of exploration companies are working to lower their emissions; some through offsets as a short-term measure, others through platform electrification. The offshore accounts for about 4% of total UK carbon emissions.