‘Conventional’ Oil and Gas—An Introduction

The following Energy practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • ‘Conventional’ Oil and Gas—An Introduction
  • Licensing and Regulation
  • Regulatory Bodies
  • Licensing
  • Upstream—Exploration and production
  • Midstream—pipelines, terminals and storage facilities
  • Downstream—refining, marketing and sale and purchase of petroleum products
  • Corporate transactions
  • Health & safety 
  • Decommissioning
  • More...

‘Conventional’ Oil and Gas—An Introduction

Licensing and Regulation

Regulatory Bodies

The former Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) (now the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)) (on behalf of the Secretary of State) had, historically, been responsible for the regulation of the UK’s offshore oil and gas resources.

Following Sir Ian Wood’s recommendations in his Maximising Economic Recovery (MER) review in 2014, the government established a new independent regulator, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) (formerly known as the Oil and Gas Authority), to take over DECC’s regulatory and licensing functions in respect of all oil and gas exploration and production on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) (other than in relation to health, safety and environmental regulation, which remains with BEIS).

The Energy Act 2016 (EnA 2016), in addition to transferring several of DECC’s previous functions to the NSTA, vests in the NSTA extensive new powers to assist its regulation of oil and gas recovery on the UKCS, including in relation to:

  1. disputes

  2. access to information and samples

  3. meetings

  4. sanctions, and

  5. infrastructure and information

The majority of these powers came into force on 1 October 2016. For further information on EnA 2016 and the current status of its provisions, see Practice Note: Energy Act 2016—snapshot.

For more information on the NSTA’s role, functions and powers and overview of the

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