Everything you need to know: New OGA obligations coming into force Oct21

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has published guidance on the legal obligations on industry concerning petroleum-related information and samples, plans and co-ordinators which are being brought into force on Monday, 21st October 2017.

These provisions within the Energy Act 2016 place additional requirements on industry to ensure the effective management of petroleum-related information or samples which have been created or acquired during the course of carrying out activities under an offshore petroleum licence. Licensees are also required to appoint co-ordinators to be responsible for monitoring the licensee’s compliance with its legal requirements.

To support industry in understanding what the measures involve, and how they affect their organisations, the OGA recently published two guidance documents entitled ‘Guidance on Information and Samples Plans and the ‘Guidance on the role of Information and Samples co-ordinators’, which can be found on the OGA website.

“These new provisions support the authority’s work in reinforcing the appropriate stewardship and safeguarding of information and samples. This is especially important during licence events such as the transfer of licence rights between companies, or the expiry, surrender or revoking of an offshore licence. The aim is that these activities are conducted effectively and prevent information loss,” explains Andy Thompson, OGA Senior Technical Services Manager.

It’s also important to understand that failure to comply with certain requirements of the commenced provisions is sanctionable in accordance with Chapter 5 of the 2016 Act.

The Wood Maximising Recovery Review 2014 recognised the need to ensure greater access to timely and transparent data for a competitive market. The provisions help protect vital information and samples which will be required to deliver the principle objective of maximising the economic recovery of UK petroleum (MER UK).

“The guidance promotes good practice, facilitates action and clearly outlines obligations on industry. A well-prepared information and samples plan and process is critical for continuing safe operations and maximising the economic recovery from the UKCS,” added Andy.

The new provisions set out the following activities:

1. Preparation of an information and samples plan
The information and samples plan must be agreed with the OGA and ensures the risks associated with the transfer of information and samples at the time of a licence event are minimised. The plan documents what information and samples are to be transferred or retained, and how and when that transfer will take place, and must be complied with. If a plan is not agreed the OGA may itself prepare the plan. Plans will vary with the complexity of the licence event contemplated.

2. Information and samples

An information and samples plan may provide for information to be retained by the outgoing licensee, transferred to the new licensee or appropriately stored. The OGA may also request information or a portion of samples held in accordance with a plan.

3. Appointment of information and samples coordinator
A relevant person must appoint an information and samples coordinator (ISC) and notify the OGA of that individual’s name and contact details. An ISC is appointed to act as the primary point of contact for communications between the OGA and a relevant person in relation to petroleum-related information and samples obligations under Chapter 3 of the 2016 Act. The OGA expects to communicate frequently in relation to information and samples.

For further information and to download the guidance please click here.

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