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Energy Act 2008

Miscellaneous

Section 32: Safety zones

88.Sections 21, 23 and 24 of the Petroleum Act 1987 provide for the automatic establishment of safety zones around oil and gas installations and set out offences and the applicable penalties in connection with such safety zones. This section extends those provisions to installations used for carbon dioxide storage. Such safety zones are areas extending 500 metres around the installation, from which vessels are prevented from entering or remaining except in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State or a consent given by the Health and Safety Executive. The penalty for such an offence is a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (currently £5,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and £10,000 in Scotland) on summary conviction and, on conviction on indictment, imprisonment not exceeding two years or an unlimited fine, or both.

Section 33: Enhanced petroleum recovery: power to make orders

89.Carbon dioxide can be used to improve the recovery of hydrocarbon production in a process known as Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) (which may also be applied to the recovery of natural gas). Subsection (1) ensures that the provisions of this Chapter do not extend to the use of carbon dioxide for the purpose of EOR, unless they are so extended by an order made by the Secretary of State (subject to negative resolution procedure – see section 105). The intention is to use this power, for example, to ensure that the requirements of this Chapter extend to operators undertaking an EOR activity if those operators wish to claim credits under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (once carbon dioxide storage projects are included in that scheme). In the circumstances defined by an order under this subsection, a licence under section 18 would be required, as well as an authorisation (or, within the territorial sea, a lease) from The Crown Estate. (The latter requirement would not, however, apply in a case covered by subsection (3).)

90.Subsection (3) provides that the Secretary of State may, by the same order and, for example, for the purpose indicated above, extend the application of this Chapter to EOR activities carried out in the area of the Continental Shelf, as defined in section 1(7) of the Continental Shelf Act 1964, where the area in question falls outside any area designated as a Gas Importation and Storage Zone.

Section 34: Power of Secretary of State etc to transfer functions

91.This section gives the Secretary of State or (by subsection (8)) the Scottish Ministers the power to transfer to another authority (which must be a public body, for example the Marine Fisheries Agency (or the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) once established) any of the functions conferred on them by this Chapter, with the exception of powers to make regulations or orders. Such a transfer may be made to several different authorities, either of different functions or of the same function in respect of different places. For example, one or more authorities may be given the function of granting licences in respect of all the activities covered by the Chapter, or just some of the activities. This allows flexibility in the choice of the regulatory authorities for carbon dioxide storage. Any transfer of functions under this section will be made by order subject to negative resolution procedure (see section 105).

92.Subsection (4) ensures that an order transferring functions to another authority may also provide for the financing of that authority’s exercise of the transferred functions, and may require fees collected by the Authority to be paid into the Consolidated Fund (or, in the case of fees collected by authorities exercising functions transferred by the Scottish Ministers, the Scottish Consolidated Fund). The order may also modify section 188 of the Energy Act 2004, and regulations made under that section, in order to reflect the fact that certain functions have been transferred to another authority. That section gives the Secretary of State the power to collect charges in respect of the performance of certain energy-related functions, and is amended by paragraph 13 of Schedule 1 to the Act so as to include functions of the Secretary of State under Chapters 2 and 3 of this Part, and to extend it to functions of the Scottish Ministers under Chapter 3.

93.Subsections (5) and (6) give the Secretary of State or (by subsection (8)) the Scottish Ministers a power of direction in relation to the exercise of functions by the authority to which they have been transferred. Before that power of direction is exercised, there is an obligation to consult with the authority concerned (subsection (7)).

Section 35: Interpretation

94.Subsection (1) contains definitions of terms used in Chapter 3. Subsection (2) provides that, for the purposes of that Chapter, the boundary of the territorial sea adjacent to Scotland is determined in accordance with provision made by an Order in Council under section 126(2) of the Scotland Act 1998 (apportionment of sea areas). For example, if the Order in Council provides one set of boundaries of the Scottish territorial sea for a specific purpose (e.g. fisheries) and then a different set of boundaries for all "residual" purposes, then, for the purposes of Chapter 3, the boundaries defined for the "residual" purposes would apply. Alternatively, if the Order in Council defines the boundaries specifically for the purposes of Chapter 3, or generally for all purposes of the Scotland Act 1998, that provision would apply.

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