OGA takes proactive approach and launches probe into licence breach

UK’s petroleum regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), has opened an investigation into a possible breach of reporting requirements under a licence.

Illustration; Source: OGA UK

The OGA said on Monday that the investigation follows an enquiry, which concluded that there was sufficient evidence of a breach to go ahead.

According to OGA, the investigation will now, among other things, gather and assess further information to enable the OGA to reach a decision, offer the company concerned the opportunity to provide written representations, and decide how the case should be resolved.

The regulator has not revealed any further details about the company and the licence involved in the possible breach.

The investigation follows the publication in October 2020 of the Thematic Review into industry compliance with regulatory obligations. 

The review recognised that industry was improving, following earlier interventions, but stressed the importance of maintaining the high standards now achieved by the majority, and the need for a minority to catch up.

In particular, the review noted that there remained room for improvement around managing production, flare and vent consents, and the timeliness of licence extension requests.

The review examined compliance in six areas of interaction between the OGA and licensees and identified some very good, and improving practice. However, the review also warned that sanctions could follow in cases where breaches were found. 

The Review itself followed a June 2019 OGA letter to licensees and infrastructure owners which outlined the OGA’s regulatory approach. 

While praising a great deal of constructive engagement, the letter noted that “too many issues [were] taking too long to resolve” and warned that “we will be progressively more proactive in using the OGA’s powers”.

In related news, the regulator’s revised strategy featuring a range of new net-zero obligations for the UK oil and gas industry came into force last week.

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