The The Office of Oil and Gas (OGA) has discovered that burning in the UK in the North Sea has fallen by 19% in 2021. This follows a 22% reduction last year as the industry works towards its goal of zero planned combustion and ventilation by 2030, as set out in the North Sea Transition Agreement.
In 2021, oil and gas production facilities reduced flare burning by six billion cubic feet (bcf) to 26 bcf, which, according to the OGA, is equivalent to the annual gas demand of 130,000 homes in the UK.
In the same year, the intensity of offshore combustion – the amount of gas burned per unit of oil produced – was reduced to a minimum of 11 years, falling from 94 standard cubic feet per barrel (scf / bbl) to 90 scf / bbl. Now this measure has dropped four years in a row from 125 scf / bbl in 2017, and the monthly minimum for all time was set in June 2021.
OGA CEO Dr Andy Samuel said: “As the UK moves in, stable domestic oil and gas supplies are needed to minimize dependence on imports and strengthen energy security. To ensure that production is as clean as possible, OGA keeps the sector accountable, including for flaring and ventilation, through close monitoring and comparison and active management.
“The significant drop in flare burning for two years in a row – the lowest level since we started tracking – is encouraging and reflects both OGA and the industry’s efforts. But there can be no end if the sector has to achieve and exceed its emission reduction targets. ”
This news comes at a time when the industry regulator is tightening controls on ventilation and flaring, when it seeks to reduce overall emissions – the cornerstone Agreement on the Transition to the North Sea signed by industry and government last year.
“By creating an agreement on a transition period in the North Sea, the UK government and the oil and gas sector are ambitious to address the challenge of achieving a clean zero while shifting the UK’s ability to serve the global energy industry,” the statement said. “The deal will bring UKCS to maturity and help the sector move towards new opportunities to keep the UK at the forefront of the changing energy landscape of the 21st century.”
Serving its goals with zero value, OGA has outlined new guidelines that ensure new developments are designed to accommodate zero routine combustion and ventilation, and encourages operators to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of the project life cycle.
The group released its first emission monitoring report last October, as well as two dashboards for marine flare and ventilation monitoring, and updated its strategy in February 2021 to include the industry’s commitment to sustaining UK ambitions to zero.
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