The UK government published Friday its long-awaited Energy Bill, which will see the strengthening of the new Oil and Gas Authority and the implementation of recommendations in last year's Wood Review.
The OGA will be given regulatory powers intended to drive greater collaboration and productivity within the oil and gas industry, and help it grow, attract investment, create jobs and remain competitive, the Department for Energy and Climate Change said in a statement. The new body will participate in meetings with operators, facilitate commercial discussions to help secure North Sea infrastructure, have access to industry data and provide dispute resolution.
Energy industry trade association Oil & Gas UK welcomed the Energy Bill, with its CEO Deirdre Michie saying in a statement:
"While it will take time to digest and comment on the full detail of the Energy Bill, we welcome its publication as it formally establishes the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) as an independent, government company.
"The OGA is a critical catalyst for the work being done to sustain offshore oil and gas activity and the Bill aims to provide the new regulator with the tools and capabilities it will need to do the job effectively and efficiently so we support its swift passage through Parliament.
"The provisions contained in the Bill complete the implementation of Sir Ian Wood’s recommendations for MER UK - Maximising Economic Recovery from the UK Continental Shelf – which enjoy cross party support.
"The commissioning of the Wood Review and implementation of its recommendations, along with the tax changes announced in this year's Budgets, lay strong foundations for the regeneration of the UK North Sea. Big strides are being made by industry to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of operations with average lifting costs anticipated to fall as a result over the next twelve months. The focus of the industry now is to continue that work while maintaining comprehensive engagement with the OGA and HM Treasury."
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