Repsol Fined for Flaring and Venting Breach in the UK

© l_martinez / Adobe Stock
© l_martinez / Adobe Stock

Spanish multinational energy company Repsol has been fined in the U.K. after its platforms in the North Sea were found to be emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere without permission.

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) said the £160,000 fine for flaring and venting more than 73 tonnes of gas is the largest it has issued to date.

Repsol North Sea Limited, previously known as Repsol Sinopec North Sea Limited, operates the Fulmar facility, east of Dundee in the Central North Sea. It has received short-term flare and vent consents since January 2019 to cover necessary actions associated with post cessation of production activities on Fulmar, Auk North and Halley.  

Since July 2020, the short-term consents have noted the fact that the main users of the Fulmar platform are now third parties, and the Fulmar facility is providing oil and gas processing facilities for third parties.

On July 1, 2022, the NSTA informed Repsol that there were no valid consents in place for Auk North, Halley and Fulmar, and that continued flaring or venting after consent expired on June 30, 2022 would be a failure to comply with regulatory requirements.  

Jane de Lozey, NSTA Director of Regulation, said, “Reducing emissions and meeting regulatory requirements is absolutely essential if industry is going to maintain its social license to operate.

“Repsol has engaged with the NSTA to learn from its failings on this occasion and taken steps to ensure it does not happen again.

“We will continue to ensure that operators comply with regulations in the North Sea and will not hesitate to take action on the occasions that they do not. The NSTA is always ready to work with operators to ensure they remain in compliance, or bring them back into compliance.”

“The fine recognizes that Repsol’s failure undermines public trust and confidence in the industry and raises questions about the company’s attention to, and investment in, regulatory compliance," the agency said in a statement. "The NSTA has repeatedly told the UK oil and gas industry that meeting regulatory obligations is vital for sustaining the industry’s social license to operate and has the potential to undermine public confidence.”

The NSTA said industry response to calls for reduced emissions and has led to near halving North Sea flaring in four years as part of ongoing work which has seen greenhouse gas emissions in total cut by 23% between 2018 and 2022.

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