Sectoral marine plan - offshore wind for innovation and targeted oil and gas decarbonisation: initial plan framework

The Initial Plan Framework (IPF) outlines the process for development of the Sectoral Marine Plan for Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) Decarbonisation. The IPF also sets out the areas that will be used for future seabed leasing.

5 Next Steps

5.1 Publication of this Initial Plan Framework is a key stage in the Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas Decarbonisation planning process. As outlined above, the areas identified for leasing and the plan specifications form the underlying principles under which CES can take forward its leasing process. The details of that leasing process are currently being developed. Leasing is expected to begin early in 2022, will result in individual projects being awarded exclusivity over areas of the seabed, within the larger Initial Plan Framework spatial options.

5.2 Following those exclusivity announcements, the spatial footprint of the successful projects will form the basis of the Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Draft Plan. As a whole, the individual projects (known as Plan Options) and Plan will be subject to the full Sustainability Appraisal, as outlined in Section 2, and subject to statutory consultation.

5.3 As described in Figure 1 - Sectoral Marine Planning process diagram, following the Draft Plan consultation any modifications required will be evaluated and, if necessary, the assessments and consultation can be repeated. However, provided there are no significant changes, the Scottish Ministers will be invited to formally adopt the Plan.

5.4 As a requirement under the Environment Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, a Post-Adoption Statement will be published. In the case of the Sectoral marine planning process, this Post-Adoption Statement will also cover how the HRA and SEIA have been taken into account in the development of the Plan.

5.5 Additionally, Scottish Government will publish the Appropriate Assessment following the HRA and the Regional Locational Guidance prepared alongside and finalised with the Plan adoption.

5.6 CES will award successful INTOG applicants Exclusivity Agreements (giving them exclusive access to the area in question). Once the Sectoral Marine Plan for INTOG is adopted, a CES Option Agreement covering the awarded area can be arranged for those projects that are compatible with the adopted INTOG Plan and meet CES leasing requirements.

5.7 It is anticipated that it will take 12 months, from notice of exclusivity, to complete the Sustainability Appraisal and conduct the statutory consultation before formal adoption of the Plan. This timeline is, of course, subject to the requirement to repeat assessments or consultation exercises.

5.8 The timeline below depicts the broad steps required to reach Plan adoption whilst Figure 1 (above) depicts the full sectoral planning process.

Figure 9: INTOG planning and leasing timeline
INTOG planning and leasing timeline, as described in section 5.

5.9 The inclusion of the exclusivity stage for projects under this planning process is specifically designed to allow the detailed section 36 consent and licence application process to begin at an earlier juncture than normally anticipated. Specifically, Targeted Oil and Gas Decarbonisation projects offer two critical and beneficial components for our Net Zero commitments and an opportunity to develop the floating offshore wind supply chain. By providing electricity to the oil and gas assets, they will remove the direct pollution component of these activities for the remaining lifetime of the asset and facilitate green decommissioning activity. It is, therefore, important for these projects to move quickly to allow for maximum connection times. In addition, these projects that may progress quicker than the larger ScotWind projects (due to scale and location) provide an excellent opportunity to help build a floating offshore wind supply chain through the mobilisation of smaller projects ahead of the ScotWind, which are anticipated to be much larger.



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