Disputes and Sanctions
The Disputes and Sanctions Team sits within the NSTA's Regulation Directorate to address disputes between relevant persons and compliance with regulatory obligations.
NSTA's measured escalation process
The NSTA’s escalation process describes the steps the NSTA will usually take leading up to a decision whether or not to exercise its powers, and the process is illustrated in the figure below:
(It is noted that the data in the graphic above is continually reviewed and may be subject to minor amendment following such review)
When the NSTA launches an investigation, a summary of this will be recorded in our online case register. The latest version of the case register can be found here. Once an investigation has been concluded the outcome will be published by the NSTA on its case register. Details of cases archived since May 2019 can be found on our Regulatory Decisions (archived since May 2019) page.
When considering whether or not to take action using the formal powers the NSTA will review that issue alongside its prioritisation criteria which includes, Strategic significance for the NSTA, NSTA time and cost; and Likelihood of success.
For more detailed information on the prioritisation criteria please refer to the NSTA’s Enquiry Guidance.
In October 2020 the NSTA published a Thematic Review into Industry Compliance with Regulatory Obligations. The review recognised that industry was improving, following earlier interventions, but stressed the importance of maintaining the high standards achieved by the majority, and the need for a minority to catch up. In particular, the review noted that there remained room for improvement around managing production, flare and vent consents and the timeliness of licence extension requests. The observations made in the review remain relevant.
The review looked at six areas of interaction between licensees and the NSTA and examined the reasons why some licensees were tripping up, while others were doing a good job. The six areas investigated were:
- Licence Mechanics (the process of applying for, extending and renewing licences)
- Flaring, Venting and Production Consents
- Pipeline Works Authorisations
- Wells Consents
- Data Requirements (Data reporting and Information and Samples Plans)
- Statutory Notification of Meetings
The NSTA’s Regulatory Approach
On 4 June 2019, Tom Wheeler, the NSTA's Director of Regulation, wrote to all licensees and infrastructure owners regarding the next stage of our regulatory approach. The text of the letter can be viewed here
Consultation on NSTA approach to Offshore Merger and Acquisition (M&A) Transactions
On 17 May 2022, Tom Wheeler, the NSTA's Director of Regulation, wrote to offshore licensees highlighting that the NSTA will launch a consultation this summer intended to inform guidance setting out how the NSTA expects co-venturers to approach M&A transactions and what conditions co-venturers can reasonably put on their consent to transactions. The letter can be viewed here.
Quick links to Guidance
The NSTA have published a range of guidance which can be accessed (by clicking the graphics) below:
For all general enquiries, please contact: email@example.com