An executive at FTSE 100 company BG Group will become one of Britain’s best paid public servants as the head of a new North Sea oil and gas regulator.
Andy Samuel will be paid £280,000 a year as chief executive of the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which has been charged with getting the most out of Britain’s dwindling reserves. He is also in line for an annual bonus of up to £50,000.
This puts Mr Samuel, who is currently managing director of BG Group exploration and production in Europe, on a par with Ian Nolan, chief investment officer at the Green Investment Bank, who has a total pay “floor” of £330,000 a year, which makes him the best paid head of a government agency.
Both men will earn more than twice the £142,500 salary of David Cameron, the Prime Minister, despite a pledge to crack down on civil servants’ pay.
The OGA is being set up after Sir Ian Wood’s review of the UK’s oil and gas industry, which recommended creating a new body with strong powers that would enable it to maximise the amount of oil that can be recovered from the North Sea. The new body will effectively take over control of Britain’s oil and gas fields from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
A spokesman for DECC said: “This will be a key appointment in driving forward the Government’s stewardship of its oil and gas resources and it was therefore essential that we offered a remuneration package which allowed us to attract high calibre candidates to apply for the role.”
The Government believes ensuring it extracts the most oil possible from the North Sea is a key way to boost the economy and secure Britain’s energy supply.
The Wood Review said that by introducing its recommendations an extra 3bn to 4bn barrels of oil could be produced over the next 20 years.
This year it emerged that North Sea production fell to its lowest level since the early 1970s. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries suggested the area around the coast of Scotland would see output drop to around 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude, down from a peak of 2.9m barrels bpd reached in 1999.
Mr Samuel said: “I am honoured to have been chosen to lead the OGA. I know first-hand the challenges industry currently faces and am confident that implementing the vision set out in the Wood Review will create a strong future for the UK’s oil and gas industry.”
Mr Samuel will formally take up the position in April and has been appointed on a three-year fixed contract with the option to extend for three years.
Þ City grandee Sir David Arculus is set to become the head of the energy industry’s leading lobby group, Energy UK, according to Sky News. Sir David, who does not have a background in the sector, previously chaired Severn Trent and O2.
By Alan Tovey