The government has handed a raft of powers to the new oil and gas industry watchdog just days after the Chancellor gave the sector a massive tax break.
The creation of the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) was one of the measures called for in last year’s Wood Review, which set out a series of recommendations aimed at maximising the recovery of UK fossil fuels.
Under the proposals published today, the OGA will be able to levy fines of up to £1million on companies that break rules designed to prolong the North Sea’s production life.
The regulator, which is slated to receive executive agency status, will also have the power to revoke company’s licences, sit in on their meetings and have early access to data.
OGA chief executive Andy Samuel said: “In my recent Call to Action report, I highlighted the very real challenges facing our oil and gas industry, and the need for continued collaboration across industry, government and the OGA.
“It is important that the OGA has appropriate regulatory powers to support its work as a trusted facilitator. I’m pleased that industry has been involved in the process to inform the legislation which is being drafted and that our work to create an effective, independent regulator is on track.
“Equally important is the commitment of all parties to maximise economic recovery through collaborative commercial behaviours in the North Sea, to safely improve efficiency, deliver a competitive cost base and create an operating environment that attracts investment now and in the future.”
By Mark Lammey