Following debates in Parliament last month, regulations governing the disclosure of petroleum-related information and samples (made on 23 July) by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) come into effect today, 13 August.

“The Oil and Gas Authority (Offshore Petroleum) Disclosure of Protected Material after Specified Period Regulations 2018” are the final set of provisions relating to information and samples under the Energy Act 2016 ensuring one of the key recommendations of the 2014 final report from the UKCS Maximising Recovery Review by Sir Ian Wood is fulfilled - the timely and transparent access to petroleum related information and samples to support the maximum economic recovery of petroleum.

The regulations provide clarity on the types of information and samples that can be disclosed, the period the information and samples remain protected before disclosure and the events that determine the start of that period.

The information and sample types in scope, include those relating to wells drilled, geophysical surveys, production data, subsurface reports, computerised models and information about infrastructure and pipelines. Some information types have never previously been disclosed by the regulator; where they have, in most cases disclosure can occur earlier than under existing arrangements.

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) consulted with industry on the proposals which formed the basis of these regulations last year and the full response published in April 2018, contains the comments received and the OGA’s response.

Together with the Oil and Gas Authority (offshore Petroleum) Retention of Information and Samples Regulations 2018 (which came into effect in May) and the other powers under Chapter 3 of the Energy Act, a more robust regulatory regime is now place, covering the preservation, reporting and disclosure of key technical information and samples relating to the UKCS.

Later this year, the OGA will publish supporting guidance on the reporting and disclosure of information and samples ahead of issuing a notice under s.34 of the Energy Act. This will complement guidance relating to the retention regulations, information and samples plans and the role of information and samples co-ordinators.

Nic Granger, director of corporate at the OGA said: "The disclosure regulations complement the other information and samples powers that have already come into effect. Once the OGA’s planned National Data Repository (NDR) becomes operational in 2019, the recommendations of the Wood Report will be fully realised and industry will have far greater access to the information it needs to help maximise economic recovery.”

Simon James, chief information officer at the OGA added: “The OGA’s 2035 vision for the industry indicates a potential £140 billion of additional gross value for the UK if economic recovery of the remaining hydrocarbon reserves can be maximised. The disclosure regulations, which are an essential part of the OGA’s information management strategy, will enable greater access to Information and Samples, and alongside technological advances such as analytics and machine learning, play an important part in achieving this aim.”

The regulations can be seen here.

Notes to editors:

  1. The “Response to the consultation on proposed regulations for the retention and disclosure of information and samples” document can be found here.
  2. The consultation was conducted between 30 June and 25 August 2017. The Consultation Document was published on the OGA website. The OGA also hosted workshops in August 2017, in Aberdeen and London, facilitating face-to-face discussions and direct feedback from industry representatives and other interested parties.