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Cable installation, Atlantis MeyGen project

Cables and pipelines

We provide licences to give developers the property rights they need to lay, maintain and operate cables and pipelines on the seabed up to 12 nautical miles from the shore. This includes oil and gas pipelines, electricity and telecommunication cables. If you think you may need a licence, please contact us as early as possible so we can provide initial information to help you. You can then submit an application once you have fully planned your works. It typically takes between three and six months to complete the application process. Consents from the Scottish, the UK Government or the Oil & Gas Authority may also be required.  If new infrastructure is to be close to existing agreements, then crossing and proximity agreements may be required with existing tenants near the works.  

An option agreement can be granted in advance of a licence and this gives rights over the option area and sets out the conditions which the developer must meet for the licence. Our licence terms are updated from time to time. Our fees have been set following consultation with industry and third party experts and are charged consistently except where specific circumstances merit a slight departure. Further information on fees is in the Heads of Terms documents below. 

Pipelines are licensed as a single category, and telecoms cables are defined as either those that run from Scottish landfall to international destinations or that transit Scottish waters without making landfall. Generally, we distinguish four types of offshore electricity cable:

1. Export cables which transmit electricity from offshore generating stations, such as wind farms, to shore.

2. Interconnectors which transfer electricity between countries.

3. Electricity transmission cables which transport larger quantities of electricity around the UK network.

4. Wayleaves and distribution cables which circulate power around the UK, principally for domestic use.

Our responsibility for licensing renewable energy generation in the 12-200 nautical miles offshore zone means that you need our permission for the full length of electricity cables connecting offshore wind farms to shore. These rights are granted to either the wind farm developer or a dedicated Offshore Transmission Asset Owner (OFTO) and this is carried out as part of the Offshore Wind leasing process – for further information see here.  All other types of cables are managed directly with the prospective owner.

We also ask to be informed of cables and pipelines in the sea between the 12 and 200 nautical mile limit, as other activities may be impacted (please email details to This helps us provide up-to-date information to other seabed users.

Find out more:

Heads of Terms