Photo: North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA)

UK regulator to ring in the new year with new boss after current one steps down

UK’s regulator North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has appointed a new Chief Executive, which will replace its current one, who is due to leave at the end of the year.

Back in February 2022, the NSTA (former the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA)) revealed that Andy Samuel will be stepping down as Chief Executive in December after eight years in the role. Therefore, the regulator embarked on a search for his replacement.

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In an update on Wednesday, the North Sea Transition Authority disclosed that Stuart Payne has been appointed as the new Chief Executive, who will succeed Samuel, and assume responsibilities on 1 January 2023.

Tim Eggar, NSTA Chairman, remarked: “Stuart is absolutely the right fit to carry on the excellent work that Andy has done for the past eight years. The sector is going through a period of rapid change and Stuart has the right skills, experience and personality to guide the NSTA and the industry through this crucial time.” 

Payne, who is the current NSTA Supply Chain, Decommissioning and HR Director, joined the NSTA in 2015 and co-chairs the industry’s Supply Chain and Exports Task Force and is a member of the Scottish Government’s Energy Transition Leadership Group. 

Prior to joining the NSTA, Payne, who was appointed by the NSTA board following a “competitive internal and external recruitment process,” held a variety of leadership positions in the oil and gas industry. He was awarded a CBE for services to the sector in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2020. 

Dr Andy Samuel, outgoing NSTA Chief Executive, commented: “I’m delighted to be handing over to Stuart after eight years leading the NSTA. Stuart has been a key part of the organisation and will do a great job. I’m proud of all my team and our achievements from bolstering security of supply, to leading the energy transition and enhancing economic prosperity for the UK.”

Stuart Payne, incoming NSTA Chief Executive; Source: NSTA

Furthermore, the NSTA informed that Payne’s work will include supporting the industry on “vital projects” involving electrification, carbon storage, energy hubs and exploration, liaising with other organisations with interests in the North Sea and working even more closely with the government and industry in light of challenging global politics. 

Stuart Payne, incoming NSTA Chief Executive, stated: “It has been a pleasure working for Andy who has made such a big difference in our sector and it is a great honour and privilege to take over the leadership of the NSTA. 

There are exciting times ahead and I look forward to working with the board and talented colleagues throughout the organisation, as well as government and industry to achieve our aims of helping the UK increase energy security and reach net zero.” 

In other news related to the NSTA, the UK regulator together with The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland issued a joint statement in May 2022, explaining how they intend to work together to explore the potential of CCS on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

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The collaboration is expected to help meet the UK government’s carbon storage targets of 20-30 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year by 2030 and over 50 million tonnes by 2035. 

To achieve this target, the NSTA launched the UK’s first-ever carbon storage licencing round in mid-June 2022, with 13 areas available for bids.