The UK-based offshore energy industry regulator, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), said Monday it had opened an investigation into an operator suspected of breaching one of its license conditions.
The investigation will look into whether the company conducted a well test – intended to gauge whether or not the reservoir can produce oil or gas – without consent and failed to provide timely notification of the completion of the test.
As NSTA explained, oil and gas licenses are awarded with conditions attached requiring the licensee to undertake certain actions within agreed timeframes and also to provide information and request consent for actions in a timely manner.
"To assist companies in meeting license and regulatory requirements, the NSTA has produced a wide range of guidance and provides ongoing stewardship support. The NSTA is committed to supporting the UK’s drive for energy security along with net zero and expects companies awarded valuable North Sea licences to comply with their licence obligations which ensure that all companies are operating within the same regulations," the NSTA said.
Dependent upon the results of the investigation, a fine of up to £1million could be levied if the company is found to have failed to meet its obligations, according to NSTA.
Jane de Lozey, NSTA Interim Director of Regulation, said:
“The NSTA is focused on supporting actions which will bolster the UK’s energy security. We will not allow this vital work to be put at risk by licensees failing to uphold their regulatory obligations, to the detriment of industry’s social licence to operate and ability to attract investment.”