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UK government consultation on new climate compatibility checkpoint for the oil and gas industry

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The UK government has launched a consultation on the design of a new climate compatibility checkpoint for the oil and gas industry. The checkpoint will apply to any future oil and gas licences to ensure they are aligned with the UK governments climate change commitments in the transition to net zero.

This move follows commitment earlier this year to introduce the checkpoint as part of the
North Sea Transition Deal. The government sees ‘an orderly transition as crucial to maintaining the security of the UKs energy supply, supporting high-value jobs and safeguarding the expertise necessary to achieve a lower carbon future.

The checkpoint will be a new measure carried out before each future oil and gas licensing process to ensure that new licences are only awarded on the basis that they are aligned with the UK’s climate change commitments, including the target to reach net zero by 2050.

The consultation, now open for views, sets out potential tests that could be used to assess new licenses, including domestic demand for oil and gas, the sector’s projected production levels, the increasing prevalence of clean technologies such as carbon capture and hydrogen generation, and the sector’s continued progress against emissions reduction targets.

The consultation will give interested parties, including oil and gas industry stakeholders, the opportunity to input to the design of the new climate compatibility checkpoint. Respondents are invited to give their views on the proposed principles, structure, and content of the checkpoint.

Using the feedback given from this consultation, the checkpoint will then be established as a new measure to assess potential future licences. If the evidence suggests that a future licensing round would undermine the UK’s climate goals or ability to reach net zero, it will not go ahead, says the government.

The new checkpoint will be an additional layer of scrutiny applied to future licences, on top of the existing measures. These include the environmental assessment carried out by the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommission (OPRED) and the net zero impact assessment carried out by the Oil and Gas Authority as part of its consent process for new licences.

Dr Andy Samuel, Chief Executive of the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) welcomed the launch of the consultation, saying: ‘Alongside the net zero test the OGA is applying to our decisions such as field developments, these proposals recognise the important role of industry in helping to meet the UK’s energy needs while accelerating the energy transition to net zero.’

Shearwater platform in the North Sea
Photo: Shell/Stuart Conway



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