• 500+ consent applications made every year

  • PWA relaunch is third major data and digital improvement this year

  • Data will help build more accurate subsea maps

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has today unveiled the new digitised Pipeline Works Authorisation (PWA) system which will make consents quicker and easier to request and save time and money for industry users. 

The new online system significantly cuts the time it takes for licensees to complete an application and for the OGA to process the request. Previously the PWA – which handles above 500 applications a year - could tie up licensees’ staff for days as it required detailed information to be laboriously entered on to paper. 

There are 7,033 pipelines currently in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) with a total length of 156,000km. The longest pipeline, the Langeled, originates in Norway and runs for 519km through British waters before making land at a terminal in Easington; the oldest still in use runs from Ninian Central Platform to Sullom Voe Terminal and was commissioned in December 1978. 

Their contribution to energy supply is significant; around 50% of the UK’s oil and gas needs is met by production that flows through these pipes to 15 land-based terminals. The figure is even greater if pipelines linked to floating production facilities which offload their oil to tankers are included. 

The system deals with every aspect of pipeline management from initial installation to changes of use, changes of ownership, modifications to the layout and more, right through to decommissioning. 

It requires users to fill out an initial registration which is then retained saving licensees from having to undertake the time-consuming task of supplying the same data multiple times. Once the application is complete, the application then goes out to consultation among Regulators and Government bodies, and finally a Public Notice is posted, allowing anyone to make representations, before the application is approved and permitted to go ahead. 

In addition to the saving in time and money the new system will also help to build a fuller map of the pipelines on the seabed, which will assist in vital decision-making regarding exploration, production and selecting carbon storage sites. 

Licensees will also save valuable time as the requirement to provide full details of a pipeline when they initially register will, in time, mean that they no longer need to complete a bi-annual Section 34 Information and Samples request.  

The PWA launch is the third major development in the OGA’s Data and Digital offer to licensees this year. 

In May, the revamped Pathfinder site went live providing a one-stop shop for work and collaborative opportunities on the UKCS and in August the revamped NDR was launched providing industry and academics with easier access to huge amounts of information to help with exploration, production and locating potential carbon storage sites. 

The OGA’s Technical Insights report, published in July, showed that the oil and gas industry is increasingly turning to data and digital solutions to drive innovation; the OGA’s suite of services will support companies across the UKCS. 


Nic Granger, OGA Director of Corporate and Chief Financial Officer, said: 

“Data and digital is at the forefront of change and the OGA is dedicated to supporting industry and academia in making the right decisions by providing a wealth of easily-accessible information.  

“The PWA alongside Pathfinder and the NDR have all been renewed and refreshed this year to provide industry with the data it requires to meet the challenges of the energy transition.” 


Andy Studman, Shell Principal Pipeline Engineer, said: 

OGA’s portal for pipelines works authorisation applications streamlines the process and reduces industry admin burden by simplifying, streamlining and reducing potential for errors. This has been achieved by creating a user-friendly portal that supports the applicant to put in the required information in a complete and error-free way thereby reducing the potential for waste and rework.” 


Notes to editors: 


For further information please contact:  

Tel: 07785 655620  

Email: pressoffice@nstauthority.co.uk