This guidance has been superseded please see our guidance page.

Regulations governing the retention of petroleum-related information and samples laid in parliament by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) came into force on 14 May 2018.

The “Retention of Information and Samples Regulations 2018” fulfil provisions in the Energy Act 2016 to support the maximum economic recovery of petroleum through greater access to timely and transparent data, necessary for a competitive market.

The regulations will safeguard the long-term curation of important national resources in preserving vital information and samples for future use. The intention is to make the retention process simpler and clearer for industry to follow and help reduce the cost burden involved.

Nic Granger, director of Corporate at the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) said: "Information and samples play a significant role in the UK oil and gas industry. Access to high quality data by the OGA and industry will help deliver more effective and efficient ways to maximise economic recovery from the UKCS across the oil and gas lifecycle.”

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “The oil and gas sector continues to play a significant role in the UK’s economy and energy security in 2018 and supports more than 300,000 jobs. This data will help improve the efficiency and understanding of the UK Continental Shelf. The transparency it will provide in the future will help to maximise economic recovery and bring significant benefits to the industry.

“Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are also working with the sector to build on the £2.3 billion worth of UK government support.”

The OGA has developed new guidance, published today, entitled ‘Retention of Information and Samples Guidance’ to be used by industry to promote understanding and fulfilling the requirements involved.

The new regulations set out:

  • A new legal obligation to ensure that important information and samples, held by offshore licensees, owners of infrastructure and those planning or commissioning infrastructure (“relevant persons”), are preserved.
  • The ‘retention’ requirements - specifying what categories/classes of information and samples industry will be required to retain and for how long.

The Authority consulted with industry on the regulations last year and the full response is also available. The publication documents the comments received, including the OGA’s response to the key points raised.

Simon James, chief information officer at the OGA added: “Timely and transparent access to information and samples is a cornerstone of the OGA Information Management Strategy. The OGA is providing the much needed clarity requested by industry on the retention and disclosure of information and samples to help support the MER UK agenda.”

Notes to editors:

  • The ‘Retention of Information and Samples Guidance’ can be found here.
  • The “Response to the Consultation on Proposed Regulations for the Retention and Disclosure of Information and Samples” document can be found here.
  • 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.
  • The Authority also published guidance relating to information and samples plans, and the role of information and samples coordinators, which came into force on 21 October 2017. This supports the OGA and industry in stewarding information and samples appropriately, in addition to ensuring individuals are responsible for monitoring compliance under the obligations in Chapter 3 of the Energy Act 2016.


For more information, please contact Tracey Miller, communications manager at the OGA:

Tel: 0300 020 1072 ¦ Email: