Climate Action

UK government seeks views on new oil and gas climate checkpoint

The UK government has launched a consultation on the design of a new climate compatibility checkpoint for the oil and gas industry.

  • 21 December 2021
  • Press Release

The UK government has launched a consultation on the design of a new climate compatibility checkpoint for the oil and gas industry.

This follows a commitment earlier this year to introduce the checkpoint as part of the North Sea Transition Deal. This landmark deal between industry and government is supporting the UK’s oil and gas sector in the transition to a lower carbon future. An orderly transition is crucial to maintaining the security of the UK’s energy supply, supporting high-value jobs, and safeguarding the expertise necessary to achieve a lower carbon future.

The checkpoint will be a new measure carried out before each future oil and gas licensing process to ensure any new licences are only awarded on the basis that they are aligned with the UK’s climate change commitments, including the target of reaching net zero by 2050.

The consultation, now open for views, sets out potential tests that could be used to assess new licenses, including domestic demand for oil and gas, the sector’s projected production levels, the increasing prevalence of clean technologies such as carbon capture and hydrogen generation, and the sector’s continued progress against emissions reduction targets.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said: "This new checkpoint will be key to our plans to support the oil and gas sector during its net zero transition. It helps safeguard the future of this vital UK industry as we create more opportunities for green jobs and investment across the country."

UK government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said: "The UK government fully supports the oil and gas industry in its transition away from fossil fuels to cleaner, greener energy sources, such as wind and tidal power. Until we have sufficient supply in those areas, maintaining a domestic supply of oil and gas – albeit reduced – will be necessary."


Andy Samuel, Chief Executive of the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) said: "We welcome the launch of this consultation. Alongside the net zero test the OGA is applying to our decisions such as field developments, these proposals recognise the important role of industry in helping meet the UK’s energy needs while accelerating the energy transition to net zero."

The consultation will give interested parties, including oil and gas industry stakeholders, the opportunity to input on the design of the new climate compatibility checkpoint. Respondents are invited to give their views on the proposed principles, structure, and content of the checkpoint.

The new checkpoint will be an additional layer of scrutiny applied to future licences, on top of the existing measures that already apply to UK oil and gas developments, including the environmental assessment carried out by the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommission (OPRED), and the net zero impact assessment carried out by the Oil and Gas Authority as part of its consent process for new licences.