On Monday 2 October 2017, the OGA published guidance relating to information and samples plans, and the role of information and samples coordinators. These provisions within the Energy Act 2016 will be brought into force on 21 October 2017.
The Wood Maximising Recovery Review, published in February 2014, acknowledged that “the ready access to timely data is a prerequisite for a competitive market and this is even more important in an industry which relies on good data to create value”. The Review recognised that the extent to which the UK maximises recovery of petroleum from the UKCS will be dictated by the availability of high quality subsurface data.
These new provisions will support the OGA and industry in these aims, by promoting appropriate stewardship of information and samples. This stewardship is especially important during specified licence events. Effective stewardship of information and samples will also be enhanced by ensuring that relevant persons appoint an individual to be responsible for monitoring its compliance with obligations in respect of information and samples under Chapter 3 of the Act.
The provisions to be commenced are:
- Sections 30 to 33 of the Act – requiring a responsible person to prepare an information and samples plan in connection with a licence event, agree any such plan with the OGA and comply with the plan.
- Section 34(1)(b) of the Act – the OGA may require a person who holds information or samples in accordance with an information and samples plan to provide it with any such information or a portion of any such sample.
- Section 35 of the Act – requiring a relevant person to appoint an individual to act as an information and samples coordinator, and to notify the OGA of that individual’s name and contact details.
- Section 36(2) of the Act – a decision by the OGA to prepare an information and samples plan may be appealed.
A failure to comply with certain requirements of the commenced provisions is sanctionable in accordance with Chapter 5 of the Act.