Flaring and venting
The OGA is the regulator for flaring and venting under the Energy Act 1976 (as amended by the Energy Act 2016) and the Petroleum Act 1998. This legislation requires operators to have consents in place for the flaring and venting of hydrocarbons during production operations; it is the OGA’s function to provide these consents.
Here you will find a summary of the policy, process and considerations involved in gaining consent for the flaring and venting of gas.
The objective of the OGA offshore flaring and venting regime is to eliminate any unnecessary or wasteful flaring and venting of gas, throughout the lifecycle of a petroleum installation and relevant facilities such as terminals.
The OGA recognises that flaring and venting of some gas from petroleum installation and relevant facilities is unavoidable. However, in order to meet the objective, the OGA requires that this flaring and venting should be kept to a technically and economically justified minimum.
Licensees and terminal operators are required to apply for consent to flare and/or vent gas emitted from their petroleum installations and relevant infrastructure.
- Applications for both offshore and onshore consents should be submitted via the Energy Portal by the Operator covering the relevant installation or hub. Please see the Field consents system user guidance below for further details on submitting applications
- At present applications for terminal flare and vent consents are not administered via the Energy Portal; applications for consent should be made in writing (via letter or email) to the OGA contacts highlighted above right . The terminal operator should apply for consents on behalf of the licensees using the terminal.
Prior to submitting a consent application, operators and licensees should refer to the guidance below for flaring and venting during the commissioning and production phases, for further information on the application process and requirements. The OGA may, where appropriate, require further information to ensure that the objective of the regime is met.
The operator should take the initiative in keeping in close contact with the OGA at all stages, from design through appraisal, construction, commissioning, production and decommissioning. Operators should ensure that they keep in contact with BEIS OPRED regarding any proposed changes to flaring and venting.
Please note that separate permits or consents connected with environmental legislation may also be required. This includes under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), and from the Environment Agency or the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency for onshore petroleum installations and terminals. Reference should be made to those bodies for more detail.
Under the model clauses in the licence related to avoidance of harmful methods of working, licensees shall maintain all apparatus in good repair and condition. They shall execute all operations in a proper manner in accordance with methods and practice customarily used in good oilfield practice, and shall take all steps practicable in order to control the flow and to prevent the escape or waste of petroleum.
Operators will be required to demonstrate that all reasonable steps have been taken to keep flaring and venting during operations to a minimum. This includes consideration of the application of technology and alternative uses for the gas.
The Operator is required to engage with the OGA at the earliest opportunity if any events, planned or unplanned, are expected to cause a breach of consent.
Failure to comply with a flare or vent consent, or the flaring or venting of gas without a consent is sanctionable under the OGA sanctions regime.