Reporting and Disclosure of Information

There are two regulatory regimes that require licensees and other “relevant persons” to report information and samples to the OGA. These are the Petroleum Act 1998 (and its associated licence terms) and the Energy Act 2016.

The Petroleum Act 1998 (PA1998)

PA1998 is applicable to information and samples created or acquired in relation to wells completed and surveys acquired prior to 1st January 2018. The OGA has issued updated guidance on the retention, reporting and “release” (i.e. disclosure) of relevant information and samples in Petroleum Operation Notice 9 (PON 9). PON9 provides guidance on how to report information and samples under PA1998 to the OGA via the NDR or other means. Follow this link for further information: https://www.ogauthority.co.uk/exploration-production/petroleum-operations-notices/pon-9/.

The Energy Act 2016 (EA2016)  

Following an OGA consultation, the Secretary of State for BEIS made new regulations in relation to the retention and disclosure of petroleum related information and samples in May and August of 2018 respectively. These regulations are generally applicable to petroleum related information and samples that were created or acquired on or following 1st January 2018. Note that the scope of information in the Energy Act 2016 is wider than that of the Petroleum Act 1998.

The OGA has published guidance on the requirement for relevant persons to retain information and samples under EA2016 here https://www.ogauthority.co.uk/news-publications/publications/2018/retention-of-information-and-samples-guidance/.

The OGA has the power to require the reporting of information and samples under section 34 of the Energy Act 2016. Guidance on the reporting of information and samples in response to a section 34 reporting notice can be found here https://www.ogauthority.co.uk/news-publications/publications/2019/reporting-and-disclosure-of-information-and-samples-guidance/.

Disclosure of Information and Samples

Wellbore information disclosure

Initially, the OGA holds all reported information in confidence; no information will be disclosed until the relevant disclosure date is reached, although under EA2016 some “summary information” in relation to wells and surveys can be disclosed immediately it is received by the OGA.

In the case of wellbores disclosed under PA1998, information from those drilled under licences awarded up to and including the 19th licencing round may be disclosed by the OGA 4 years after the regulatory completion date of the wellbore.

The OGA may disclose information relating to wellbores drilled under licences that were awarded from the 20th licencing round onwards 3 years from the regulatory completion date of the wellbore, or upon full licence determination.

As set out in PON9, operators have 6 months from the wellbore regulatory completion date in which to provide the OGA with the required information.

EA2016 regulations for information and samples are enforced from 1 January 2018; from then onwards information relating to all wellbores (regardless of the associated licence round) is generally required to be reported within 6 months of the regulatory completion date.

The OGA may disclose such information 2 years after it has been reported or on surrender of the relevant licence area (but note that the whole licence does not need to be determined).

In short:

1st to 19th licensing round; until 31st December 2017 PA1998 4-year confidentiality period
20th licensing round onwards; until 31st December 2017 PA1998 3-year confidentiality period
1st January 2018 onwards EA2016 2-year confidentiality period

Exclusions to this include where the associated acreage is relinquished, at which point the wellbore information becomes disclosable.

Guidance on the disclosure of information and samples that are reported in response to a section 34 reporting notice can be found here https://www.ogauthority.co.uk/news-publications/publications/2019/reporting-and-disclosure-of-information-and-samples-guidance/.

This flowchart outlines wellbore information disclosure:

Proprietary Seismic Information Disclosure

Offshore proprietary seismic data is made available through the NDR. For data that was acquired before 1st January 2018 the PA1998 licence terms apply and for data that was acquired from 1 January 2018 onwards, EA2016 regulations apply.

For PA1998 survey data, disclosure occurs 3 or 4 years from the end of the year of acquisition depending on the licence (following the same rule as well data). For 20th round and onwards licences, if the full licence is determined and the survey is entirely within the licence boundaries, the data may be disclosed.

Under EA2016 disclosure may occur 5 years from the date when processing was completed. If the licence is partly relinquished and the survey is entirely within the relinquished area, the data may be disclosed.

In short:

1st to 19th licensing round; until 31st December 2017 PA1998 4-year disclosure period
20th licensing round onwards; until 31st December 2017 PA1998 3-year disclosure period
1st January 2018 onwards EA2016 5-year disclosure period

This flowchart outlines proprietary seismic information disclosure:

Seismic Trace Data Reporting Review Process

All principle processing stages of trace data pertaining to “EA2016” proprietary seismic surveys, (meaning those acquired from 1st January 2018), are required to be routinely reported to the NDR, in a prescribed form and manner, as set out in reporting guidance.

For “PA1998” seismic surveys, meaning those acquired prior to 1st January 2018, it is only the post-stack version that is required to be routinely reported to the NDR at this time. The OGA requires owners of PA1998 related surveys to retain any associated field, pre-stack and other data that is required, as set out in PON9. Such data must be retained in perpetuity, unless and until the OGA requires it to be reported, either on a routine or an ad-hoc basis. Data must be held in a recoverable and accessible state, such that it may be retrieved and reported at any time.

The OGA will consider the reporting of historic PA1998 field and pre-stack data etc. in certain circumstances. These may include where there is a clear and wide-reaching benefit, for instance where making the data available contributes to OGA’s objectives, including for the purposes of supporting the Energy Transition.

The OGA may therefore require ad-hoc reporting of such data to the NDR on the basis of a request from a 3rd party that does not have rights to the data, and that a firm commitment is made by the requestor to reprocess the data in support of MER or Energy Transition objectives.

Reporting may only be initiated by the OGA. This may be on the behalf of a requestor that has raised a missing data request through the NDR. The OGA may not disclose information in the NDR that has not been formally reported.