The NSTA has been given a range of powers. 

Petroleum Act 1998 

The Petroleum Act 1998 vests all rights to the UK’s petroleum resources in the Crown and provides the NSTA with the power to grant licences that confer exclusive rights to ‘search and bore for and get’ petroleum. Each of these licences confers such rights over a limited area and for a limited period.

The Act also puts into statute the principal objective of maximising the economic recovery of the UK’s offshore oil and gas resources (by way of the Infrastructure Act 2015).

The Act provides the legislative basis for the Strategy and the requirement for the NSTA and industry to act in accordance with the Strategy, which sets out how, in practice, the principal objective should be achieved by the NSTA and industry.

The revised OGA Strategy was issued on 11 February 2021.


Energy Act 2016

The Energy Act 2016 creates the legislative framework to formally establish the NSTA as a government company, limited by shares under the Companies Act 2006, with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy the sole shareholder. The power to raise a levy on industry to fund the NSTA is also provided by this Act. The Energy Act 2016 also provides the NSTA with regulatory powers, including the ability to participate in meetings with operators, to have access to data, provide dispute resolution and introduce a range of sanctions such as enforcement notices and fines of up to £1 million.


Energy Act 2011

The Energy Act 2011 also provides the NSTA with dispute-resolution powers in relation to third-party access to upstream petroleum infrastructure

Legislative context