Pipeline Stabilisation

Key Legislation:

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

Guidance Notes:

DECC has issued a new version of its guidelines for the completion of Pipeline Works Authorisations, which update the previous version published in November 2012. The document provides guidance on how to complete PWA applications; variations to existing PWAs; Holder, User, Operator and Owner variations and DEPCON applications.
The guidance form is available from the DECC website.

Also see the following topics for additional guidance: Decommissioning of Pipelines and Interference with Navigation.

Consent Needed: Deposit of Materials Consent (DepCon) is required for deposit of materials, e.g. rock dumping or mattresses. This forms part of the Pipeline Works Authorisation (PWA) application process.A Direction under the Offshore Petroleum Production and Pipelines (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1999 is also required.A licence under the MCAA or MSA is required in cases where not covered by a PWA, for example:

  • Pipeline crossing preparations or other works before a PWA or related Direction is in place
  • Installation of certain types of cable e.g. communications cables
How to Apply: DepCon/PWAApply for the certificate by completing the application form (DepCon1) and attaching a covering letter. Guidance on completion of the DepCon is available in Appendix B of the Guidelines for the Completion of Pipeline Works Authorisations. The following information must be provided on the application for consent (DepCon1):

  • Description of material to be deposited
  • Quantity to be deposited
  • In the case of rock dumping, the maximum size to be deposited
  • Location of the proposed site
  • Length, width and height above seabed level which the material will attain when deposited
  • Description of any consultations undertaken or planned
  • Approximate date on which deposition is proposed to begin and the approximate duration of the operation

A Public Notice must also be published. Information on the required contents can be found in Appendix D of the PWA Guidance.

Direction/Pipeline Operation Application

Application for a Direction under the EIA Regulations is also required through a Pipeline Operation application detailing the deposit requirements.

If a requirement to deposit materials arises following issue of the relevant Direction, the operator can seek a direction for the deposits by varying the existing pipeline permit (a new DepCon will also be required). In both cases, the operator also has the option of submitting a stand-alone pipeline operation application.

MCAA Licence

The application process under the MCAA and MSA is not yet known. DECC guidance has been drafted and is awaiting issue.

Who to Apply to: DepCon/PWAApplication to be sent to DECC EDU-LED (Pipeline Consents Team) and copied to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).Direction/Pipeline Operation ApplicationPipeline Operation applications must be submitted electronically to DECC via the UK Oil Portal using PETS. Operators will need to be registered with DECC for access to the Portal.

To set up a UK Oil Portal Account, contact the DECC OED Environmental Management Team at ukop@decc.gsi.gov.uk

If you have any problems with MAT submission, contact the DECC OED EMT by email at emt@decc.gsi.gov.uk

MCAA Licence

The application process under the MCAA and MSA is not yet known. DECC guidance has been drafted and is awaiting issue. Any queries in the meantime should be directed to DECC Oil & Gas Environmental Management Team by email to emt@decc.gsi.gov.uk

When to Apply: DepCon/PWAConsent must be secured prior to commencement of deposition of material. Where there are no objections it takes approximately four months from receipt of the application to issuing the authorisation.In the case of pipelines in respect of which an Environmental Statement is required under the Offshore Petroleum Production and Pipelines (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1999, the procedure may take longer in order for all the environmental issues to be properly considered.Direction/Pipeline Operation ApplicationPipeline Operation applications must be made at least 28 days before operation commences. However, if also seeking a direction that an ES is not required, additional time should be allowed.

MCAA Licence

The application process under the MCAA and MSA is not yet known. DECC guidance has been drafted and is awaiting issue.

EIA: When an application or a variation to a PWA is submitted to the EDU-LED (Pipeline Consents Team), these are copied to the DECC EDU-OED (Environmental Management Team) who will review and confirm the requirements for an EIA to support an application (see EIA).In cases relating to works or deposits within an already established safety zone it is unlikely that an EIA (or Pipeline Operation EIA Direction SAT) would be required.
Limits Placed on the Deposition of Material:

Consent stipulates that if the SoS is of the opinion that the deposited materials is or is likely to cause obstruction or hazard, the SoS may require the removal of those materials.

Deposited Materials: There is no requirement to monitor/sample the deposited material.
What to Report: DECC requires operators to complete a return form, ‘Deposit of Stabilisation/Protection Materials’ using the Excel Spreadsheet provided by DECC.This will enable the Department to collate information on all future deposits, which will be particularly relevant in relation to our assessments of potential impacts on protected habitats and species.A Nil Return must be provided where no deposits have been made.
Who to Report to: Reports need to be submitted to DECC Environmental Management Team by email to emt@decc.gsi.gov.uk
When to Report: Following completion of material deposit operations.
What to do if in Breach of Consent/ Authorisation: Consent stipulates that if the Secretary of State is of the opinion that the deposited materials are or are likely to cause obstruction or hazard, the SoS may require the removal of those materials.
Offshore Inspection: The DECC Environmental Inspectorate Enforcement Policy (PDF document) sets out the general principles that Inspectors shall follow in relation to enforcement including prosecution.
PWA/DepCon and PON15C Renewal and Variation: Where additional pipeline protection is required or other amendments, a variation to the PWA and Pipeline Operation Application Direction should be sought. A new DepCon will also be required (obtained through the DECC website).
MCAA Licence Renewal and Variation: Licences will be valid for a maximum period of one year, but operators will be able to apply to renew licences that cover a range of activities.
MCAA Guidance: DECC guidance has been drafted and is awaiting issue.

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.

Oil and gas: infrastructure:

A note from DECC offering operators the Infrastructure Code of Practice and the UK/Norway Framework Agreement; guidelines for Pipeline Works Authorisation.

Pipeline Works Authorisation Approval: A PWA will not be approved until approval of a submitted ES or a Direction that an ES is not required has been issued (see Offshore EIA).