Field development plans

Licensees are required to obtain authorisation from the OGA to install facilities or produce hydrocarbons through the field development plan process.

When considering whether to authorise a proposed field development, the OGA will take into account whether the proposed project supports the maximising economic recovery strategy and wider Government policy objectives, and whether the proposed methods comply with good oilfield practice. 

Process for oil and gas field development plans

The process aims to identify 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 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 resulting FDP should provide a summary description of the actual development and the principles and objectives that will govern its management.

Operators considering a development should contact us early in the appraisal stage of a field. A multi-disciplinary team from our exploration, production and decommissioning directorate will be assigned to take forward the technical discussion on the field, headed by a manager authorised to take technical decisions on behalf of the OGA and to co-ordinate, where necessary, our response on policy issues.

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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. Our 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.

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 BIES's environmental data 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.

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