Oil and Gas Authority to become new independent regulator

Greg Clark, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy.

From 1 October 2016, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) will be an independent regulator for the UK government, with a new set of powers to fulfil government expectations for the oil and gas industry.

The government believes that the move will ensure that the UK continues to be a desirable investment destination, as well as develop a competitive edge in the oil and gas industry.

Announcing the move, Greg Clark secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy said: “The oil and gas industry is crucial to our energy security, economy and our cross-government industrial strategy. As one of the UK’s largest industrial sectors and having one of the most highly skilled workforces in the world, we are determined to continue to work together to secure its long-term success".

While there are many matters, administrative and regulatory, to be delt with before the OGA formally becomes a government company, it is expected that the vesting process will be finalised prior to 1 October.

The OGA announcement is the culmination of a year of discussions between the OGA and relevant governmental departments. “Creating the Oil and Gas Authority and giving it powers to drive greater collaboration and efficiency will help attract investment, support jobs and make sure UK oil and gas remains competitive for the future,” Clark said.

Andy Samuel OGA chief executive said: “GovCo [government company] status formalises our position as a strong and effective authority with a full suite of regulatory powers to have a positive, transformational effect.”

The new independent regulator seems to reinforce the May government’s industrial ambitions and goals for UK global competitiveness, while at the same time reflecting the continuation of the previous government’s ambitions for UK success in oil and gas. 

At a time of change, May will be keen to highlight the continuity message to provide assurance to the many initiatives begun by the previous government as well as swiftly moving forward with an industrial strategy that she hopes will reassure as well as strengthen the UK economy.