Venting is the discharging of gases into the atmosphere. Flaring is burning the gases before they are discharged and mainly results in CO2 emissions. Flaring and venting of gases are periodically required for safety and operational reasons, but more can be done to reduce the amount.

The probe by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) could result in action being taken, including a fine for the as-yet unnamed company or the relevant licence being taken away.

Monitoring flaring and venting and reducing emissions are vital parts of the NSTA’s work to help the UK government meet the net zero target. Flaring and venting also wastes gas that could otherwise be used to boost the UK’s energy security.

Compliance with consents is both an indicator of good management of fields by licensees and a vital pillar of a company’s social licence to operate.

Under the NSTA’s official strategy document, licensees have an obligation to assist the Secretary of State to...