North Sea

Inside track to decommission off Norway

Unlike the common practice in the UK, licensees in the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) do not routinely provide or have the benefit of security for the cost of decommissioning the facilities and installations used to extract oil and gas.

Renewables/Energy Transition

Attracting debt funding within UK renewables sector

The UK Government’s decision to end certain renewable energy generation subsidies, including the closure of the Renewables Obligation to all new generating capacity from March 2017 and the intention to close the FIT scheme to new applicants from 1 April 2019 (with some exceptions), has necessarily triggered a reduction in the pipeline of new onshore projects across the nation’s renewable energy sector. As the Scottish Government strives to reach its target of generating 100 per cent of its electricity consumption and 11 per cent of its heat demand through renewable sources, the sector’s long term viability is more dependent than ever on its ability to continue to adapt to this more challenging environment, in order to secure external investment.


China’s LNG policies and their increasing worldwide impact

China’s growing demand for non-contractual liquefied natural gas (LNG) will change the landscape in the next few years, influencing the global market, LNG prices, international LNG supply agreements and China’s domestic gas industry.


Iraq’s oil potential still mainly untapped

With output of around 4.4 million barrels per day (as of March 2018), Iraq is the second largest oil producer in OPEC after Saudi Arabia, and holds the world’s fifth largest proven crude oil reserves.


50 years of OTC – 50 years of the North Sea!

Given that OTC will be in full swing in Houston as this is published, and that it is celebrating its 50th anniversary, I thought it would be timely to look back over 50 years of oil and gas in the North Sea with a bit of a legal lens. We are also celebrating at CMS, since our Aberdeen office is 25 years old this year so it’s a good time for reflection.


North-east Scotland’s new energy industry

Aberdeenshire has a new energy industry and it’s green. From being the dream of a few individuals probably written off as slightly barmy, offshore wind has become a major part of the energy transition, for the UK as a whole, but also for north-east Scotland. Just take a look off the beach at Balmedie where the piles for the Aberdeen Bay Offshore Wind Farm are being installed as I write. Work is also continuing apace in the Moray Firth where the last 12 months have seen installation of all the offshore piles and a third of the jackets for the 84-turbine, £2.6billion Beatrice Offshore Windfarm. The first electricity could be generated as early as July and the operator, SSE, expects the farm to generate up to 588MW of power – enough for about 450,000 homes – once it is fully operational, which is expected in 2019.

Renewables/Energy Transition

Opinion: Land deals can be key to viable renewables sector

The UK Government’s decision to end wind farm subsidies, including closure of the Renewables Obligation to nearly all new generating capacity, has raised concerns across the nation’s renewable energy sector. New renewable generating stations will now be expected to seek support under the Contract for Difference (CFD) mechanism but this is only open to emerging technologies such as offshore wind. The more established means of renewable power generation including onshore wind, solar and biomass are currently excluded from CFD support.


CMS: Courting the old chestnuts

Notwithstanding a degree of stability during 2017, the “lower for longer” oil price continues to affect the industry, and while these pressures can be positive, forcing efficiencies and stimulating innovation, they also bring challenges, and at times disputes.


Opinion: Cycling approach could help transform North Sea sector

There may not appear to be an obvious link between the prospects for North Sea oil and gas and the recent successes of British Cycling. But the innovative thinking which delivered Olympic gold medals and Tour de France victories could also benefit the UK’s energy industry.