HSE & Sustainability

NSTA Cuts Red Tape for UK Offshore Operators

Britain’s North Sea Transition Authority is removing the requirement for offshore operators to submit Cessation of Production reports when preparing to abandon a field.

Red Tape Series
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The North Sea Transition Authority (NTSA) in Britain is scrapping its Cessation of Production process, saying that relevant data is being gathered from other sources.

The NTSA says industry will see significant savings in time and money after its move to cut the red tape and scrap the requirement for the Cessation of Production (CoP) reports.

The reports, which were produced when an operator was preparing to abandon a field, provided valuable information on matters including production history, recovery factor, operational costs, decommissioning outline, and potential infrastructure reuse. This was to establish whether a field had achieved maximum economic recovery and developed all prospectivity in the area.

“It is important that the NSTA and industry adapt to changing priorities and review our work flows for efficiency savings," said Brenda Wyllie, NSTA area manager. "Dropping the CoP reports is an example of that and I am sure this will be welcomed by industry, providing them a reduced work burden too.”

In some cases, preparing a CoP report could tie up two members of operators’ staff for up to 6 months. The NTSA said a revised Stewardship Survey, combined with data available from other sources, will ensure that the information is still obtained without the need to report it twice. In rare cases where further information is required, the NSTA says it may use the Stewardship Strategy to undertake prioritized and targeted reviews.

The number of reports has averaged 16 a year in the past 5 years, with 25 in 2021, and, given the amount of staff time no longer required, the industry stands to save millions of pounds, the NTSA said.

The CoP reports themselves were never published because they contained commercially confidential material. Operators could use some of the information, however, when submitting a Relinquishment Report.

The time freed up within the NSTA will allow the teams to devote more attention to carbon capture and storage stewardship, electrification project oversight, and hydrogen.

“This move frees up time for operators to focus on those core tasks and creates time for NSTA staff to support the energy transition," Wyllie said.