Environmental campaigners have responded to the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) report about the emissions produced by the extraction of oil and gas in the UK Continental Shelf.

The ‘Emissions Monitoring Report 2022’ focuses solely on the emissions from producing UK oil and gas and does not mention the far greater amount of climate changing pollution from burning the oil and gas.

The report reveals that:

  • The pollution per barrel – known as average carbon intensity – of offshore assets increased from 20.7 to 21.2 kgCO2e between 2020 and 2021 (Report:p19)
  • The UK’s pollution per barrel is higher than the majority of other oil producing nations (Report: p42)
  • NSTA predicts that emissions will rise in 2022 and 2023 (Report: p21, also Figure 11)
  • NSTA admits the industry is not on course to meet its 2030 emission reduction targets. (Report: p5, P23, also Figure 11)

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s just transition campaigner Ryan Morrison said:

“The North Sea Transition Authority might want to pat itself on the back, but they are fiddling while the planet burns. Their focus on the emissions from getting oil out of the ground intentionally ignores and obscures the far greater climate impact of burning the oil and gas that is produced.

“The irony should not be lost on anyone that as the fossil fuel industry thinks about attaching wind turbines to oil platforms, they are also pushing to drill every last drop of oil and gas. Worse still, this report shows that the pollution from each barrel is higher than the majority of other countries and has actually increased in the last year.“

“Both climate science and energy experts are crystal clear that there can be no new oil or gas developments if we want to stay within the agreed limits of global temperature rises, no matter how much the industry tinkers around the edges of North Sea emissions.”

The North Sea Transition Authority rebranded itself from the Oil & Gas Authority earlier this year. Journalists revealed that senior staff hold shares in the oil and gas companies they are supposed to be regulating.

Morrison concluded,

“This Authority was initially set up on the recommendation of an oil billionaire and has a senior team stacked with former oil industry execs, many with shares in these profiteering companies. Instead of a fawning cheerleader for an industry that is racing us towards further climate disaster, we need a new regulator responsible for delivering the phase out of oil and gas production in a managed way over the next decade.”

Report available at

Total greenhouse gas emissions from a barrel of UK Forties blend oil – showing that downstream emissions (end use) far exceeds upstream emissions (drilling & production )
https://oci.carnegieendowment.org/#oil/uk-forties-blend

Norway has a total ban on non-emergency flaring in the Norwegian continental shelf since 1971 https://www.equinor.com/news/archive/2015/04/17/17Aprflaring

Oil regulators with fossil fuel shares ‘getting richer’ from energy crisis
https://theferret.scot/oil-regulators-getting-richer-energy-crisis/

The International Energy Agency has said that there should be no new oil and gas projects if the world is to stay with 1.5C or warming.
https://foe.scot/press-release/no-new-oil-gas-to-meet-climate-commitments-says-iea-report/

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.