The NSTA recovers its costs from the oil and gas companies that benefit from its services. An industry levy was introduced in October 2015, following consultation with industry, to fund the NSTA in line with the established principle of ‘user pays.’

The levy for 2023-24 is £35.2m. Offshore licensees will be notified of the exact levy due for their licences.

There is a two-tier levy mechanism with the annual levy apportioned between pre-production (11%) and in-production (89%) licence holders, based on an assessment of the costs that the NSTA incurs in relation to each group. This apportionment is regularly reviewed to ensure it remains appropriate.

For the purposes of the levy, ‘producing’ licences are those licences to which the NSTA has given consent to start production, i.e. where the licence has an approved Field Development Plan. Exploration licence holders and licence holders with no approved Field Development Plan are subject to a lower ‘non-producing’ levy rate. Additionally, the NSTA is allowing a ninety or eighty per cent discount on some ‘Promote’ licences and ‘Innovate’ licences in Phase A or B of their initial term, if held by undertakings which qualify as micro-businesses (defined as an undertaking that has fewer than 10 employees and a turnover that does not exceed £1,778,000 and/or assets that do not exceed £1,778,000).

The legislation for the 2023-2024 Levy, along with details on levy-rates and liability to pay

The levy does not currently apply to the onshore sector.

Over 99% of the levy of £32.9m for the financial year 2022-23 was collected. An underspend of the levy received in 2021-22, totalling £3.9m has been paid back to the industry during the 2022-23 financial year.

The NSTA remains focused on delivering a high quality service and providing value for money to the industry. We are committed to setting the levy in a fair and transparent manner.

The levy rates for the 2023-24 financial year are as follows:

Licence Category 2023-24 Levy
Microbusiness & Promote/Innovate Phase A Licensee (Non-Producing) £2,680
Microbusiness & Innovate Phase B Licensee (Non-Producing) £5,360
Other Non-Producing and Innovate Phase C Licensee £26,799
Producing £130,912
Exploration Licence £26,799