UK regulator Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) is releasing “vital” historic seismic data that could help operators and organisations identify potential carbon and hydrogen storage sites in the North Sea.

Following a consultation period last year, the OGA has concluded that seismic data acquired under an exploration licence and which are more than 10 or 15 years old, depending on the type of data, can be made available.

According to the OGA, explorers, organisations researching potential carbon capture and storage (CCS) sites, and academics will be among those who will benefit from the greater availability of the data, spanning a time period from the 1960s to around 10 years ago.

'Supporting a net zero future'

Scott Robertson, OGA director of operations, said: “These additional data will be extremely valuable to explorers and developers in meeting MER UK goals, and in supporting a net zero future by identifying potential carbon and hydrogen storage sites that are vital for the UK to meet its emissions abatement targets for 2050 and beyond.

“We expect to see a significant increase in the reworking and reprocessing of the legacy data which will be published and the opportunities identified by such analysis will lead to activity that should bring real benefits to industry, the wider UK economy and the UK's transition to a net zero future," Robertson added.

The data will be made available through an application to the OGA, which may publish the data via the National Data Repository (NDR).