Field development plans

Under the Model Clauses in the licence, licensees are required to obtain authorisation from the OGA to install facilities or produce hydrocarbons. The field development authorisation process is described below.

When considering whether to authorise a proposed field development, the OGA will take into account whether the proposed project supports the MER UK strategy and wider government policy objectives.

Process for oil and gas field development plans

The process aims to review aspects of the field development plan that relate to the OGA’s principal objective to maximise the economic recovery of UK offshore oil and gas, and to identify those aspects on which the views of the OGA and licensees may diverge.  

These aspects will be examined more thoroughly with licensees, with the aim of reaching mutually satisfactory conclusions. The outcome will be a Field Development Plan (FDP) document that provides a summary description of the actual development,  the principles and objectives that will govern its management, and how those objectives will be achieved. Guidance on the content of an FDP can be found here. Operators considering a development should contact us early in the appraisal stage of a field.

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Licensees should provide the OGA with sufficient opportunity and information to gain an understanding of the field and its conceptual development.

OGA’s area team manager will provide notification of any aspects of the development where a conflict of interest is seen to exist and which may prevent authorisation of the FDP. We will then seek to agree a programme of work leading to their resolution and a timetable for its completion.

The OGA considers the economics of field and incremental developments as part of the assessment of field development programmes. Operators should complete a Standard Economics Template (SET)  spreadsheet to assist the OGA in this process.

Environmental Impact Assessments will be required for most new offshore oil and gas developments. The environmental aspects of offshore oil and gas activity are the responsibility of Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS, formerly DECC). An Environmental Statement (ES) describing the environmental impact assessment needs to be submitted to BEIS as part of the project authorisation process. View BEIS's environmental legislation page for further information .  

All environmental statements are subject to a period of consultation during which time any person or body with an interest in the proposed development may make their views known to the Secretary of State.  The Environmental Impact Assessment process generally proceeds in parallel with the preparation of the FDP. Licensees should bear in mind that the consideration of an environmental statement generally takes several months and can take significantly longer than this if substantial representations are made by any of the consultees or members of the public, or if insufficient information is presented within the environmental statement.

Safety is the responsibility Offshore Safety Directive Regulator (OSDR), a separate government body to the OGA.

Note that the Design Notifications (or Relocation Notifications where applicable) may be required under the Offshore Safety Directive. Where required, these need to be submitted to the OSDR prior to the formal submission of a Field Development Plan – see

The timescale for the approval of an Environmental Statement and review of the Design Notifications may vary from project to project. Licensees are advised to contact the OSDR at an early stage in their development planning. The OGA can help facilitate these contacts.


The development will be authorised (i.e. the necessary consent/approval granted pursuant to the applicable model clauses and/or EIA regulations) once the OGA is satisfied of the following:

The operator needs to submit a formal application for the necessary consents via the oil and gas portal. The FDP document should be submitted as an attachment to this application. The necessary consents will be issued via the oil and gas portal. Additional information on how to apply for the necessary consents can be found on

View further guidance for onshore oil and gas fields, gas storage development plans and gas unloading development plans.

FDP Guidance