Flaring and venting

Under the Energy Act 1976 and Petroleum Act 1998, operators are required to have consents in place for the flaring and venting of hydrocarbons during production operations.

The OGA is committed to eliminating any unnecessary or wasteful flaring and venting of gas. Here you will find a summary of the process involved in gaining consent for the flaring and venting of gas.

General Considerations

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.

It is recognised that during the appraisal, commissioning and production phases of a development, the flaring or venting of some gas is unavoidable. The OGA requires that this flaring or venting should be kept to the minimum that is technically and economically justified. Licensees are required to apply for consent to flare and/or vent gas emitted at their oil and gas fields. The main purpose of this requirement is to ensure that gas is conserved where possible by avoiding unnecessary wastage during the production of hydrocarbons. Flaring and venting is undesirable on both conservation of resource and environmental grounds. 

It is OGA policy that gas flaring during commissioning should be kept to the lowest level that is consistent with the safe and efficient commissioning of oil and gas related plant. To achieve this the operator should take the initiative in keeping in close contact with the OGA at all stages, from design through construction to commissioning planning, and demonstrate that all reasonable steps have been taken to keep flaring to a minimum.

View further details on general considerations during the development planning phase.

Detailed guidance on how to submit flare and vent consent applications via the Energy Portal

Detailed guidance on the procedures for the review of flare and vent applications (during both the commissioning phase and subsequent operations phase)

Note that permits for flaring and venting may be required under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/oil-and-gas-offshore-environmental-legislation#the-greenhouse-gases-emissions-trading-scheme-ets and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/participating-in-the-eu-ets.


OGA consent is also required for flaring and venting at onshore terminals. The terminal operator will apply for these on behalf of the licensees using the terminal. Consents will be issued on short term basis during commissioning of major new facilities, thereafter on an annual or longer term basis depending on the volumes being flared or vented. At present applications for terminal flare and vent consents are not administered via the portal; applications for consent should be made in writing (via letter or email) to the OGA contacts highlighted above right.

Separate consents connected with environmental legislation may also be required from the Environment Agency or the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, and reference should be made to those bodies for more detail.

Claire Grant
Consents & Authorisations Manager
Oil and Gas Authority
48 Huntly Street
Aberdeen AB10 1SH

Email: Claire Grant

Applications should also be copied to:

Robert White
Infrastructure Manager
Oil and Gas Authority
4th floor
21 Bloomsbury Street
London WC1B 3HF

Email: Robert White