Navigational Interference – Pipelines

Key Legislation:

For more detail on the Legislation relevant to this page, please use the following links:

Supporting legislation:
Guidance (to be updated with new requirements once new DECC guidance is issued – see the Pending Legislation tab):

The PWA and DEPCON guidance has been moved to the OGA website, capturing the transition of DECC to BEIS in the guidance.

The OGA has added a category of PWA titled ‘Options (Category 2- short)’. This category should be used where the issue with the pipeline is not clearly identifiable and multiple potential failure points are recognised.  Guidance available here.

Consent Needed (to be updated with new requirements once new DECC guidance is issued – see the Pending Legislation tab): Pipelines Work AuthorisationA Consent to Locate required under the Coast Protection Act 1949 is also issued with the Pipelines Work Authorisation.
How to Apply: A detailed application must be submitted. Guidance notes on what must be included in the application are available in Guidelines for the Completion of Pipeline Works Authorisations. The same application process also includes consent to deposit materials on the seabed (DepCon) (see Pipeline Stabilisation). Although some information may still be included in the PWA application, use and discharge of chemicals are now covered under the Offshore Chemicals Regulations 2002 and a separate permit is required (see Pipeline Chemicals).A Public Notice must also be published. Information on the required contents can be found in Appendix D of the PWA Guidance.Guidance notes on consent to locate under the Coast Protection Act 1949 is also available on the BEIS website. Also see Navigational Interference – Installations for general information on CPA applications.
Who to Apply to: BEIS EDU OED (Environmental Management Team).
When to Apply: A minimum of 4 months before pipeline construction begins. Where there are no objections, it takes approximately four months from receipt of the application to issuing the authorisation. In the case of pipelines for which an Environmental Statement is required, the procedure may take longer (see EIA).Note: Early consultation with fishing interests is recommended.
Dynamically Positioned Vessels: CPA consents to locate will not be required for activities involving the use of vessels maintained on station using dynamic positioning, where the vessel would be able to move off station in the event of a navigational emergency, and where the proposals will not involve any deposit or removal of materials from the seabed that would constitute a locus for application of the Coast Protection Act (CPA).Further information available from CPA Guidance Notes for Vessels – Interim (PDF Document) on BEIS website
General:

A detailed application must be submitted. Guidance notes on what must be included in the application are available in Guidelines for the Completion of Pipeline Works Authorisations.

None with respect to navigation/fishing interference.
What to Report (to be updated with new requirements once new BEIS guidance is issued – see the Pending Legislation tab): Nothing with respect to navigation/fishing interference.
What to do if in Breach of Consent/ Authorisation (to be updated with new requirements once new BEIS guidance is issued – see the Pending Legislation tab: It is an offence to contravene the requirements of the Petroleum Act 1998 or to knowingly make false statements. If any work is undertaken in contravention of the Pipeline Works Authorisation, BEIS has powers to issue a notice for remediation or removal of the pipeline.
Offshore Inspection: The BEIS (then DECC) Offshore Oil and Gas  Environmental Unit Enforcement Policy sets out the general principles that Inspectors shall follow in relation to enforcement including prosecution.
Renewal: BEIS has powers to terminate a Pipeline Works Authorisation if the works have not commenced within 3 years of issue.
Energy Act Part 4A – expected provisions for navigation and consent to locate: The changes will introduce a formal application process which will be linked to the environmental regime instead of the Petroleum Act or Energy Act consenting regimes, e.g. consent to locate a pipeline will be linked to an ES or Pipeline Operations (PLA) Permit application process rather than the PWA process.There will be no formal requirement for an ES to support applications for consent, but related ESs will be copied to the relevant navigational bodies (e.g. MCA, Lighthouse Authorities, MOD, Fishermen’s representative bodies) to confirm there are no significant issues.Consultation period for applications will be 28 days to match other environmental processes.Some vessel activities will require a consent to locate, if the vessels will be physically connected to seabed infrastructure that could constrain their ability to “navigate”, e.g. drill ships and intervention vessels.Consent documents will include enforceable conditions, and depending upon the nature of the application, these could include:

  • Existing marking/lighting guidance documents attached to current (DfT) consents
  • Lighthouse Authority requirements including inspection regimes
  • MOD requirements including the use of beacons (to replace the Model Clause conditions)
  • Guard vessel requirements
  • Vessel logs and reporting requirements

Where appropriate, the consent requirement and compliance with the consent conditions will be included in the remit of offshore environmental inspections, and powers will be available to enforce compliance and pursue any offences.

The consents will cover the duration of the deployment, and not just the duration of any installation operations, e.g. installations and pipelines will have a “life” consent that will be surrendered when the infrastructure is removed or an MCAA licence issued that includes in situ abandonment.

Applications to vary the consent will be required, including variations that relate to activities within an existing 500 metre safety zone, e.g. it will be necessary to vary the consent to locate a rig or flotel within the safety zone of a consented installation.

There is currently no charging powers so there will not be a separate consent to locate fee.

Consultation on transposition of Environmental Impact Assessment Directive: Regulations on offshore hydrocarbon-related developments on pipe-lines BEIS are seeking opinions on amendments to Offshore Production and Pipe-lines Regulations to transpose the EIA Directive.This consultation closed at 11.45 pm on 16th March 2017.

OGA Guidance – Pipeline Works Authorisations (PWA)

The OGA has added a category of PWA titled ‘Options (Category 2- short)’. This category should be used where the issue with the pipeline is not clearly identifiable and multiple potential failure points are recognised.