The OGA regulates the licensing of exploration and development of England’s onshore oil and gas resources, and manages the risk of induced seismicity as part of its regulation of onshore hydraulic fracturing operations. The OGA issues well consents, development programme approvals, completion of work programme approvals and production consents.
The Petroleum Act 1998 vests all rights to onshore petroleum in the Crown, including the rights to search, bore for and get it. It empowers the OGA to grant licences to search for and bore for and get petroleum to such persons as they see fit. The Petroleum Act requires model clauses to be laid in secondary legislation conditions (see The Petroleum Licensing (Exploration and Production) (Landward Areas) Regulations 2014), which are then incorporated into new licences (except in particular cases). Existing licences are not affected by the issue of subsequent sets of model clauses (except through specifically retrospective measures such as were present in the 1998 Act). It is the responsibility of every licensee to be aware of all regulatory controls, including the model clauses, and to comply with them.
A downloadable copy of the OGA Guidance on the Onshore Regulatory Regime can be found here. This guidance, which consolidates previously available guidance, sets out how the OGA will normally consider stated matters and is not a substitute for any regulation or law and is not legal advice.