• Strict limits on flaring and venting for 2025

  • Enhanced digital system to streamline the process

  • Emissions reduction supported by the project 

The Annual Consents Exercise (ACE) which sets limits on North Sea flaring and venting and helps to improve the UK’s energy position has got underway.

Production consent applications opened on 1 July and will close on 16 August and flaring and venting consent submissions will be accepted between 19 August and 13 September. The objective is for all consents to be issued by 13 December 2024.

Consents set minimum and maximum production limits for each field, and ensure, among other things, that reservoirs are appropriately managed and support the drive to net zero and the management of UK resources.

For this year’s exercise the payments system has been revamped so that, for the first time, payments can only be made using a credit or debit card on GovPay. This will be quicker and easier for users and replaces the old system of using Worldpay and bank transfers, which are no longer accepted.

In addition, this year’s process will be the first to use the North Sea Transition Authority’s (NSTA) new all-digital system. Show and tell sessions designed to help users navigate the new system to its full capacity are taking place once a week from 8 July until 29 July.

The revised system, which was developed with valuable feedback from industry users, includes for the first time the previously paper-based consents for terminals (facilities), meaning ACE is now entirely online and more efficient – part of the NSTA Digital Energy Platform.   

The modernised system has a familiar interface that makes it easier and quicker to input data. Industry users will save time thanks to the inbuilt validation and pre-population facilities, and increased use of drop-down menus.   

The improved data validation will significantly reduce errors and, in turn, lessen the need for time-consuming back and forth between the applicant and the NSTA. It will also support the drive to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by making it easier to monitor flaring and venting volumes and enforce limits. 

In addition, legacy portal application and consent data will be migrated and presented in the new system – meaning that all data will be available in one place for industry. 

The upgrade is part of the NSTA’s improved service to industry which has included a website redesign to make it more responsive to users’ needs, the relaunch of the  Wells Operations Notifications System - which deals with applications relating to exploration, production, development and decommissioning - to provide improved functionality and greater flexibility, and the digitisation of the Pipeline Works Authorisation system.

Jane de Lozey, NSTA Director of Regulation, said: 

“The Annual Consents Exercise enables us to work with industry colleagues and to support both the drive to net zero and net zero emissions by limiting flaring and venting consents and monitoring the efficient management of UK resources. This new all-digital system, which will save industry time and money, supports those aims for regulatory efficiencies.”   

Notes to editors:

For further information please contact: 

Tel: 07785 655620 

Email: pressoffice@nstauthority.co.uk