Flaring and venting
The NSTA is the regulator for flaring and venting under the Energy Act 1976 (as amended by the Energy Act 2016) and the Petroleum Act 1998. This legislation requires operators to have consents in place for the flaring and venting of hydrocarbons during production operations.
The NSTA Strategy, which came into force in February 2021, incorporates a range of net zero obligations for the UK oil and gas industry, including a requirement for relevant persons to, in securing that the maximum value of economically recoverable petroleum is recovered, take appropriate steps to assist the Secretary of State in meeting the net zero target. This includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions from sources such as flaring and venting.
The NSTA expects industry to adhere to the following principles in relation to flaring and venting across all UKCS areas and oil and gas lifecycle stages:
- flaring and venting and associated emissions should be at the lowest possible levels in the circumstances
- zero routine flaring and venting for all by 2030
- all new developments should be planned and developed on the basis of zero routine flaring and venting.
- Licensees and terminal operators are required to apply for consent to flare and/or vent gas emitted from their petroleum installations and relevant infrastructure. Applications for both offshore and onshore consents should be submitted via the Energy Portal by the Operator covering the relevant installation or hub. Please see the Field consents system user guidance below for further details on submitting applications.
- At present applications for terminal flare and vent consents are not administered via the Energy Portal; applications for consent should be made in writing (via letter or email) to the NSTA contacts highlighted above right. The terminal operator should apply for consents on behalf of the licensees using the terminal.
- Prior to submitting a consent application, operators and licensees should refer to the guidance below. The NSTA may, where appropriate, require further information to ensure that the objective of the regime is met.
- The operator should take the initiative in keeping in close contact with the NSTA at all stages, from design through appraisal, construction, commissioning, production and decommissioning. Operators should also ensure that they keep in contact with BEIS OPRED regarding any proposed changes to flaring and venting.
- Please note that separate permits or consents connected with environmental legislation may also be required. This includes under the Emissions Trading Scheme, and from the Environment Agency or the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency for onshore petroleum installations and terminals. Reference should be made to those bodies for more detail.
- If you have requirement to flare or vent but no longer have an extant licence you should contact BEIS at firstname.lastname@example.org.