Information and samples power commencement

Energy Transition Group
,
20 Dec 2016

On, Monday 19 December, two additional powers within the Energy Act 2016, were 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 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.