The UK Government has pledged to continue supporting the development of the oil and gas industry in the North Sea.
It has set out the details in the Energy Bill published today.
DECC aims to formally establish the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) as an independent regulator, which will take the form of a government company. The OGA will be in charge of regulation of domestic oil and gas recovery and asset stewardship.
The Energy Secretary’s existing regulatory powers on oil and gas will be transferred to the OGA.
“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”, DECC stated.
The oil and gas industry supports around 375,000 jobs and contributed £3 billion to the UK economy last year, it added.
The government also confirmed it will make legislative changes to remove the need for the Energy Secretary’s consent for large onshore wind farms – more than 50MW – with the planning procedures now going through local authorities.
The Energy Bill also confirmed the previous announcement for an end to the Renewables Obligation (RO) for onshore wind projects.
The First Reading of the Bill took place yesterday in the House of Lords and the Second Reading is scheduled for 22nd July.