Repsol Fined £160,000 by North Sea Regulator for Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Posted 20/12/2023 13:22
Repsol, the energy company operating in the North Sea, has been fined £160,000 (approximately $203,813) by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) for unauthorized flaring and venting, emitting over 73 tons of gas. The NSTA's statement indicated that this fine is the highest the authority has imposed to date for releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere without permission.
The NSTA stressed that Repsol's failure not only undermines public trust in the industry but also raises concerns about the company's commitment to regulatory compliance. The NSTA has consistently emphasized the importance of meeting regulatory obligations for maintaining the industry's social license to operate.
Repsol, the operator of the Fulmar facility, had received short-term flare and vent consents since January 2019 for post-cessation of production activities on Fulmar, Auk North, and Halley. However, since July 2020, the NSTA noted that the main users of the Fulmar platform were third parties, and the facility provided oil and gas processing for them.
On July 1, 2022, the NSTA informed Repsol that no valid consents were in place for Auk North, Halley, and Fulmar. Despite this, Repsol continued to flare or vent after the consent expired on June 30, 2022, leading to a failure to comply with regulatory requirements.
Jane de Lozey, NSTA Director of Regulation, highlighted the necessity of reducing emissions and meeting regulatory requirements for the industry to maintain its social license. Repsol, in response, has accepted responsibility for the unauthorized flaring and venting and has cooperated fully with the NSTA's investigation. The company has also taken measures to prevent similar breaches in the future.
The NSTA emphasized that the industry has responded positively to emission reduction calls, nearly halving North Sea flaring over four years, resulting in a 23% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions between 2018 and 2022. The NSTA has been actively working with the industry to achieve net-zero targets, with a formal consultation on the OGA Plan focusing on areas such as investment and efficiency, platform electrification, low carbon power, inventory, and flaring and venting. The NSTA aims to support UK energy security, reduce emissions, and accelerate the transition to a net-zero North Sea.