Article   |   Neil Rimmer   |   21.09.2022

NSTA Emissions Monitoring Report

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) published its latest Emissions Monitoring Report on the 21st September demonstrating positive progress on reducing carbon emissions associated with oil & gas production in the North Sea.

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Figure 1 - NSTA Emissions Monitoring Report

The preliminary figures show a reduction on 14.6% for GHG emissions from 2020 to 2021, driven by 3 primary factors (as the figures are scope 1 & 2 emissions only, the challenge of reporting scope 3 upstream emissions remains).

  • Reduced flaring

  • Reduced gas consumed for power

  • Reduced production

The positive actions on reducing flaring which accounts for roughly 22% of scope 1 & 2 production emissions and has reduced along with vented gas (5% of emissions) by 20-22% year on year.

Gas consumption for offshore power production remains the largest source of emissions at around 70% and remains the key to hitting the 2030 upstream emissions targets.

The third element, reduced production has the positive environmental benefit of less emissions, however the net result of reduced activity in 2021 leads to the carbon intensity of the production hydrocarbons actually increasing.

The carbon intensity is calculated by dividing the CO₂ reported by the Emissions Trading Scheme by the total hydrocarbon sales volumes.

Figure 2 - NSTA Emissions Monitoring Report - includes emissions from terminals

Carbon intensity varies greatly from country to country with the North Sea being lower than many major producing areas, and as such is one of primary justifications for exploiting the reserves close to home during the energy transition rather than out-souring energy production to third party countries where the production of hydrocarbons comes under less scrutiny.

In summary, the report paints an optimistic picture, but one with much more work to be done on reducing upstream emissions, where production curves are can be seen to be stable combined with emission figures dropping. As the industry tackles primary sources of scope 1 & 2 emissions in its current plans, the focus then shifts to scope 3 emissions, and area where all energy production methods have produced limited figures.

In summary, the report paints an optimistic picture, but one with much more work to be done on reducing upstream emissions, where production curves can be seen to be stable combined with emission figures dropping.

Neil Rimmer

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