Powers, sanctions & guidance

These powers and sanctions are used by the OGA to help to achieve the principal objective of maximising the economic recovery of UK petroleum, supported by the MER UK Strategy.


The OGA can consider disputes between relevant persons using one of two formal procedures:

  1. For cases where ‘third party access’ to upstream petroleum infrastructure is being sought (for conveyance through a pipeline or processing by an oil or gas processing facility owned by another person), an application can be made under Part 2 Chapter 3 of the Energy Act 2011. The procedure can lead to a binding solution being imposed by the OGA on the persons in dispute.
  2. For disputes that are relevant to the fulfilment of the principal objective or to activities in connection with an offshore licence, a reference can be made under Part 2 Chapter 2 of the Energy Act 2016. This procedure can lead to the OGA making a non-binding recommendation that the persons should seek to implement or adapt in order to reach agreement.

Information and Samples

Part 2, Chapter 3 of the Energy Act 2016 consolidates, strengthens and broadens existing requirements in relation to the retention of information and samples and reporting of them to the OGA. It allows the OGA to require the reporting of information and samples by issuing written notices and allows regulations to be made setting out what should be retained. Chapter 3 also has a number of other new requirements including the requirement to appointment Information and Samples Coordinators and the requirement for Information and Samples Plans to be provided at certain licence events.

Part 2, Chapter 6 of the Energy Act 2016 allows regulations to be made, setting out how and when information and samples should be published by the OGA.


The OGA should be informed about relevant meetings and has the right to attend such meetings as well as be provided with a written summary. The use of these powers in described in the Meetings: Statutory Notice (PDF, 4 pages) document.


The OGA can give a person a sanction notice if it considers that the person has failed to comply with a ‘petroleum-related requirement’, which is defined as either a duty to act in accordance with the MER UK Strategy, a term or condition of an offshore licence, or a requirement imposed by specified provisions in the Energy Act 2016. See the Sanctions page for more information.