Historic seismic data which provide images below the seabed are to be made available by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) following a consultation into the reporting and disclosure of such data.

Explorers, organisations researching potential carbon capture and storage (CCS) sites, and academics will be among those who will benefit from the greater availability of the data, spanning a time period from the 1960s to around 10 years ago.

Following consultation, the OGA has concluded that seismic data acquired under an exploration licence and which are more than 10 or 15 years old, depending on the type of data, can be made available through application to the OGA, who may publish the data via the National Data Repository (NDR).

In support of this, the OGA is publishing guidance which outlines the conditions under which geophysical survey data created or acquired under an exploration licence pre-2018 may be published. The publication of more recent, and future, geophysical survey data (i.e. those created or acquired post-2017) is also covered by similar guidance.

Scott Robertson, OGA Director of Operations, said:

“The OGA has consulted extensively on the reporting and disclosure of seismic data, building on the success of disclosure of other data via the NDR.

“These additional data will be extremely valuable to explorers and developers in meeting MER UK goals, and in supporting a net zero future by identifying potential carbon and hydrogen storage sites that are vital for the UK to meet its emissions abatement targets for 2050 and beyond.

“We expect to see a significant increase in the reworking and reprocessing of the legacy data which will be published and the opportunities identified by such analysis will lead to activity that should bring real benefits to industry, the wider UK economy and the UK's transition to a net zero future.”


Notes to Editors

  • The public consultation was opened on 27 March 2019 and closed for comments on 27 April 2019. A total of 13 responses were received from production licensees, exploration licensees and industry associations/trade bodies.
  • The OGA responses to the relevant consultations can be accessed using the following links:
  • Additional, extensive consultation with industry has been ongoing since the publication of the Wood Report in 2014, which made specific recommendations on access to, and sharing of seismic (geophysical) data.
  • A full list of exploration-related data and studies previously released by the OGA can be found here.
  • For further information, go to pressoffice@nstauthority.co.uk or call 07785 655620.