The UK Oil and Gas Authority, founded in 2015 to maximize the oil and gas industry, has been renamed to the North Sea Transition Authority to reflect its new evolving role in the energy transition.
North Sea Transition Authority, which is a Government Company and an executive agency for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said it will have an expanded role that will include emissions monitoring and carbon storage licensing.
It will become the UK’s permitting authority for carbon storage in the North Sea, as carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies scale and will have a role in integrating planning for offshore wind along with planning for oil and gas.
It is also currently responsible for carrying out climate “stress tests” for new projects. It is not known whether the testing framework will be altered, following criticism from the Climate Change Committee.
Even though the renamed authority claims to be concerned about climate change and expand on its new role in the energy transition, it plans to remain true to its primary remit – to argue that fossil fuels need to be “an essential part of the energy mix for some time to come”. Some of its primary workstreams are stewarding ongoing production, licensing, and overlooking new developments for future oil and gas projects.
“Our values remain the same while the organization is adapting to meet the UK’s changing needs,” said the Authority’s chief executive Dr Andy Samuel.
The North Sea Transition Authority also has a good number of oil and gas developments in line with its net zero tests, ensuring cleaner production, while bolstering energy security and giving the UK options.
Its goal is to make sure the industry not only meets but surpasses its pledge to halve emissions by 2030, as agreed in the North Sea Transition Deal. The authority is ramping up its carbon storage licensing activity to support the capture of 20-30 million tons of CO2 per year by 2030.
The rebranding of the UK Oil and Gas Authority reflects the changing climate of politics and the oil and gas industry. Organizations would need to adapt to the world ramping up clean energy production and phasing out fossil fuels forever.