The NSTA is committed to helping the UK government reach its goal of net zero emissions by 2050 and our Strategy includes that as a core obligation. 

The NSTA takes a lifecycle approach to net zero regulation, including through our strategy and a range of regulatory levers. This ensures net zero is considered at every stage of the development of a field. 

We regulate for emissions reduction, drive electrification and zero routine flaring and venting. 

We are challenging industry to reduce its carbon footprint through initiatives including electrification and energy efficiency measures. We work closely with government and industry to support these measures, as well as other solutions including Carbon Capture and Storage and hydrogen. 

We have supported the carbon storage industry through a number of initiatives including running the UK’s first-ever carbon storage licensing round, and we were encouraged by industry’s success in cutting flaring by almost 50% since 2018.  We have been benchmarking flaring performance since 2020 and in 2021 issued tougher guidance, stating all new developments should have no routine flaring and venting, with zero routine flaring across all North Sea platforms, whether new or existing, by 2030 at the latest. 

The NSTA welcome the oil and gas industry’s commitment to becoming a net zero emissions basin by 2050, as evidenced in the North Sea Transition Deal which committed the sector to decarbonising and, subject to making progress on the shared actions,taking action to reduce emissions from oil and gas production by 10% by 2025, by 25% by 2027 and by 50% by 2030 (all relative to 2018 baseline), as measurable steps to a net zero basin by 2050. 

It is crucial that industry must maintain efforts to reduce its own footprint and also stay focused on reducing emissions in the near term. Therefore, NSTA have incorporated these targets into our data benchmarking to monitor progress. 

The NSTA believe that economic recovery of oil and gas is not in conflict with the drive to net zero and that the industry has the skills, technology and capital required to help the UK achieve the target. We are also of the view that the industry must go faster and farther in reducing its own carbon footprint, or risk losing its social licence to operate.   

We have challenged industry to deliver quicker action to ensure progress in several areas including: 

  • To commit to clear, measurable greenhouse gas targets, with real progress on methane. 
  • To show progress on carbon capture and storage, including work having started on major projects. 
  • Deliver measurable progress on energy integration opportunities – for example, an electrification project. 
  • Accelerating efforts to ensure there is a diverse array of skills and people for the long-term energy offshore and supply industry.