UK regulator Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has secured a $1.1m (£900,000) grant from the Better Regulation Executive’s Regulator’s Pioneer Fund to begin a project that will explore the potential of  a more integrated offshore energy sector.

OGA is collaborating with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), The Crown Estate, Ofgem and other stakeholders in this project to support the UK oil and gas industry in transitioning to renewable forms of energy.

Short-term plans include testing for potential regulatory and technical opportunities, while long-term plans will look at using energy integration to maximise the value of the UK Continental Shelf.

The project will explore the mix of storage solutions and energy sources needed to help the industry transition to a low carbon economy. These include the capture, storage and transport of carbon dioxide using existing infrastructure, powering of offshore platforms from renewable sources, monetising gas produced via in-situ power generation and the offshore production and transportation of hydrogen.

OGA chief executive Andy Samuel said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to advance the energy transition agenda, looking at practical steps that can be taken and how we as regulators can support that.

“Oil and gas will be required to power our economy and heat our homes for the foreseeable future, but to me, it is clear there are great opportunities now to more closely link up all forms of offshore energy production to generate power more cleanly and efficiently.”

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The Crown Estate head of energy development Will Apps said: “As managers of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we are pleased to be working with the Oil & Gas Authority and other partners to support this project, helping to pave the way for greater market innovation in the critical area of energy integration, and support the UK’s ongoing transition to a low carbon energy mix.”