Business hit with record £225,000 fine for venting gas without consent

Gas company, Perenco UK Ltd, has been fined £225,000, the highest ever financial penalty handed out by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA).

It was handed the penalty for venting 59 tonnes of gas for over a month from its onshore gas processing plant at Dimlington, East Yorkshire, without consent.

The company had permission to vent 235 tonnes from 1 January – 31 December 2022, but exceeded that limit on 6 November and vented the extra gas until a new consent was issued on 14 December 2022.

The company produces natural gas from fields in the Southern North Sea and operates terminals in Dimlington, East Yorkshire, and Bacton in East Anglia.

Perenco stated that it had systems to track the daily volumes of gas it emitted. However, there was an absence of internal mechanisms to ensure that any risks identified through this system were appropriately actioned.

The NSTA aims to eliminate unnecessary or wasteful flaring and venting of gas. It monitors performance and works with industry to reduce emissions.

Jane de Lozey, NSTA director of regulation, said: “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while maintaining UK energy supply, is essential, and we acknowledge industry’s response to both of those challenges.

“Operating within consent and prompt engagement with the NSTA helps maintain confidence in the sector.

“However, as today’s fine demonstrates, we will take firm action for any failures to meet regulatory obligations.”

The North Sea Transition Authority, known as the Oil and Gas Authority until March 2022, is a private company limited by shares wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.

It regulates and influences the oil and gas, offshore hydrogen, and carbon storage industries.