The UK government has brought forward its package to give the oil and gas industry a major boost as it unveiled its energy bill in parliament.
The legislation will go beyond the recommendations of the review carried out by the by Sir Ian Wood and is aimed at ensuring that the industry can survive for several decades despite the steep decline in the oil price and the added cost of decommissioning the old oil fields.
The bill has been widely welcomed will strengthen the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), set up after the Wood Review, with new regulatory powers so that it can drive greater collaboration and productivity in the industry, helping it to grow, attract investment, create energy jobs and remain competitive for the future.
These new powers will enable the OGA to maximise the economic recovery of oil and gas reserves from UK waters by enabling it to participate in meetings with operators, facilitate commercial discussions to help secure critical North Sea infrastructure, have access to data and provide dispute resolution.
A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: “By reinvigorating our domestic oil and gas industry, we will also reduce our reliance on volatile foreign imports.”
SNP Westminster energy spokesman Callum McCaig: “We are very much in support of the establishment of the OGA and it having the tools required to implement the recommendations in the Wood Review.
“That aspect of the Bill is a key component to making that happen.
“With all legislation the devil is in the detail, but the principles behind it are certainly something we are in favour of.”
Oil & Gas UK’s chief executive, Deirdre Michie, said: “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.”
Source: The Scotsman