12 October 2018
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• SEPA is consulting on its sector plan for the emerging oil and gas decommissioning industry.
• Between 2016 and 2030 at least 60% of the oil and gas installations in the northern and central North Sea will be decommissioned.
• Consultees are being urged to have their say on the plan before 20 November.
Everyone with an interest in the environment is being encouraged to share their views on SEPA’s sector plan for the emerging oil and gas decommissioning industry.
SEPA’s sector plans will be at the heart of everything the agency does and will shape its interactions with sectors and the businesses in them. The sector plan for oil and gas decommissioning aims to bring a clear and co-ordinated approach to regulation, focusing SEPA on delivery and using its staff more powerfully to engage.
Between 2016 and 2030 at least 60% of the oil and gas installations in the northern and central North Sea will be decommissioned. As Scotland competes to win decommissioning contracts, there is potential for at least 480,000 tonnes of material to be brought to Scotland for processing. The sector plan aims to ensure that all operators meet a minimum standard of environmental compliance and as many as possible go further.
The incentives for Scottish businesses are massive with the Scottish Government recently making an additional £5 million available to the supply chain in Scotland to help maximise the economic benefit from the decommissioning of North Sea infrastructure.
Operators and regulators will need to work together to ensure, whether within Scotland, the UK or abroad, that infrastructure is processed at well-equipped yards which offer a high degree of environmental protection.
SEPA’s sector plan for oil and gas decommissioning focuses on how the agency will work directly with oil and gas operators, waste operators, Port Authorities, trade bodies and also other environmental agencies, regulators and government bodies to facilitate a consistent approach to this emerging sector.
Consultees have until 20 November 2018 to respond to the consultation which is available to view on SEPA’s Consultation Hub.
Terry A’Hearn, SEPA’s Chief Executive, said:
“Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment and we are clear that compliance is non-negotiable. We are transforming our regulatory approach in order to create a world-class environment protection agency fit for the challenges of tomorrow, and sector planning will drive this new approach.
“The sector plan for the emerging oil and gas decommissioning industry realises that Scotland needs a 21st century regulator that will encourage businesses to think about going beyond compliance and creating commercial success from environmental excellence.
“It is important that we have the views of as many people as possible across Scotland on this sector plan to ensure we get this right. If you have an interest in the environment please read the documents and tell us what you think.”
Regulators’ Pioneer Fund
Last week it was announced that SEPA will receive funding from the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund for a decommissioning regulatory hub. This will bring together operating companies and multiple regulators (from the oil and gas industry and the waste supply chain) to address cross-cutting areas, share best practices, create innovative solutions and manage the associated risks together.
Commenting on the funding which SEPA received from the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund Allan Reid, SEPA’s Director of Commercial Services, said:
“The decommissioning hub will help implement SEPA’s sector plan by addressing cross cutting areas, and driving the potential to reduce, re-use and recycle materials. This will ultimately develop knowledge and experience across the sector and help deliver economic growth, health and safety as well as environmental improvements.”