- OGA publication

Maximising economic recovery of UK petroleum: the MER UK strategy


The Government is committed to supporting the oil and gas industry which plays a vital role towards our energy supplies, to employment and our economy more generally.

The OGA, which was established as an executive agency on 1 April 2015,engages with industry to drive down costs and improve efficiencies and to maximise economic recovery of our offshore oil and gas reserves, both for Britain’s energy security as well as our long-term economic outlook.

The Petroleum Act 1998, as amended by the Infrastructure Act 2015, places a duty of the Secretary of State to produce one or more strategies for enabling the Principal Objective of “maximising the economic recovery of UK petroleum to be met”. This is the first MER UK Strategy and was required to be produced within 12 months of the relevant clauses coming into force, therefore by April 2016. It was laid in Parliament for scrutiny on January 28 2016, and since neither House passed a negative resolution against the draft, it was produced (came into force) on March 18 2016.

The OGA became a Government Company in October 2016, following Parliamentary approval for the Energy Act 2016. The Energy Act established the OGA as a Government Company and equipped the body with additional powers to maximise economic recovery of oil and gas from beneath UK waters. These powers give the OGA the ability to issue enforcement notices and financial penalties, and to revoke licences for clear or persistent breaches of the MER UK Strategy.

Therefore, the MER UK Strategy should be read as a legal document containing obligations with which those bound by it are required to comply. The Strategy is binding on the OGA, petroleum licence holders, operators appointed under those licences, the owners of upstream petroleum infrastructure, and those planning and carrying out the commissioning of upstream petroleum infrastructure.