Information and samples power commencement
Today, Monday 19 December, two additional powers within the Energy Act 2016, have been brought into force, relating to reporting of information and samples.
The new powers are:
- Section 34 of the Act – the mechanism through which the OGA can, by written notice, require relevant persons to provide it with any petroleum-related information or samples for the purpose of carrying out any functions of the OGA which are relevant to the fulfilment of the principal objective of maximising economic recovery of UK petroleum or activities carried out under a carbon dioxide storage licence. Note: Section 34(1)(b) of the Act (relating to information and samples plans) is not being brought into force on 19 December and will be brought in at a later date.
- Section 36 of the Act – the right of a person, to whom a notice requiring the provision of information or samples has been served, to appeal against such decision on the grounds that the length of time given to comply with such notice is unreasonable.
These powers will help the OGA to discharge its regulatory powers and access the required information and samples which will enable more strategic stewardship of the UKCS, throughout the asset lifecycle.
The commenced provisions apply to all “relevant persons” and cover a wider range of petroleum-related information than the OGA’s existing powers, which relate primarily to exploration and petroleum licence sub-surface matters. The OGA also has the power to use sanction for failure to comply with a request for petroleum-related information and samples.
The Energy Act 2016 provided the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) with a range of new powers, many of which came into force on 1 October 2016 when the OGA was established as an independent government company by the UK Government. This process also formalised the transfer of the Secretary of State’s regulatory powers in respect of oil and gas to the OGA.
The OGA’s other powers include dispute resolution, meetings access and sanctions. Detailed information on power and sanctions has been published on the OGA's website to clearly outline obligations and issue guidance on how it intends to use these to support industry, promote good practice and facilitate action. In addition, the OGA now has a remit to work with industry to ensure cost-effective decommissioning.
For more information please contact:
Leona Minellas Communication Manager
Oil & Gas Authority Tel: +44 (0) 300 020 1072
Notes to editors:
- Section 34(1)(b) of the Act has not been commenced on the grounds that it relates to requests for information and samples relating to an “information and samples plan”. Similarly the other provisions of the Act relating to information and samples plans (section 30 to 33) are not commenced at present as the preparations to enable to OGA to facilitate these provisions are on-going
- Section 35 of the Act has also not been commenced. This section covers the appointment by a relevant person of an information and samples coordinator to be responsible for monitoring their compliance with its obligations under Chapter 3 of the Act. The OGA acknowledges that the appointment of information and samples coordinators will require administrative action and will provide industry with appropriate notice prior to its commencement
- The UK Government reacted quickly to create the OGA. The Energy Bill, introduced to the House of Lords on 9 July 2015 and passed as an Act in May 2016, formally established the OGA as an independent regulator
- The Infrastructure Act 2015 put into statute the principle of maximising the economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources (MER UK). The final MER UK Strategy was laid before parliament and came into force in March 2016.
- Decisions previously held by ministers including exploration and production decisions and approvals, are now held by the OGA Chief Executive, Andy Samuel.