UK’s Oil and Gas Authority gets independence date

UK’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) will be established as an independent regulator by the UK Government as of October 1, 2016.

To remind, UK’s Energy Bill in July 2015 introduced the Oil and Gas Authority as an independent oil and gas regulator in the UK, and the regulator received the royal assent in May 2016.

OGA said on Tuesday that the announcement of its establishment as an independent regulator by the UK Government was made during Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark’s visit to Aberdeen that day. 

Clark was recently appointed the Secretary of State after UK’s new Prime Minister, Theresa May, decided to scrap the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and establish a Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department.

On Tuesday, Clark met with oil and gas industry representatives, visited local business ROVOP and chaired a roundtable with local businesses at Aberdeen & Grampian Chambers of Commerce.

OGA added that, upon becoming an independent regulator, it will receive new powers that will mean it can act with greater speed and flexibility to drive investment, support jobs and further UK’s competitive edge in the oil and gas industry.

“The oil and gas industry is crucial to our energy security…”

OGA will get access to operators meetings, data acquisition and retention, dispute resolution, and sanctions. It also enables the transfer of the Secretary of State’s existing regulatory powers in respect of oil and gas to OGA.

Andy Samuel, OGA Chief Executive, said: “Over the last year, we have worked closely with our colleagues in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and other government departments to put in place the legislative and regulatory foundations to support OGA’s transition to an independent government company (GovCo), including the passing of the MER UK Strategy in March and the Energy Act just two months later.

“GovCo status formalizes our position as a strong and effective authority with a full suite of regulatory powers to have a positive, transformational effect. Like industry, we are bound by the obligations of the MER UK Strategy, and will continue to deliver on our priorities to drive collaboration, influence and promote the remaining prospectivity of the UKCS.”

Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, said: “The oil and gas industry is crucial to our energy security, economy and our cross-government industrial strategy.

“As one of the UK’s largest industrial sectors and having one of the most highly skilled workforces in the world, we are determined to continue to work together to secure its long-term success.

“Creating the Oil and Gas Authority and giving it powers to drive greater collaboration and efficiency will help attract investment, support jobs and make sure UK oil and gas remains competitive for the future.”

“There is an absolute need for governments, the regulator and industry to come together…”

Deirdre Michie, the chief executive for the association for UK’s offshore oil and gas industry, Oil & Gas UK, also met with Clark. Michie said: “I today made a direct plea to the Oil and Gas Authority and the secretary of state to bring forward the next meeting of the important industry and governmental group, the MER UK Forum, to discuss the immediate challenges of low investment and activity facing the North Sea. I’m pleased to say they have agreed to do this.”

Michie also added: “There is an absolute need for governments, the regulator and industry to come together to make strategic interventions that will unlock investment and stimulate activity for the longer term. If we make the correct interventions now, the industry can continue to play a critical role in meeting the UK’s energy needs, support hundreds of thousands of jobs, and ensure the world-leading expertise that the sector possess are not lost.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff