On 7 November 2018, the OGA updated its Meetings Statutory Notice, amending the list of meetings that fall within the notification requirements in Part 2, Chapter 4 of the Energy Act 2016 (the “Act”).
The Act gives the OGA the power to attend and participate in a wide range of external meetings between different companies operating in the UK Continental Shelf (“UKCS”). The Act obliges industry to inform the OGA in advance of these meetings, provide the OGA with information and, if the OGA does not attend, provide it with a written summary of the meeting. Failure to comply with the obligation to notify is sanctionable under Chapter 5 of the Act. The Notice avoids administrative overload for both industry and the OGA by limiting the scope of that obligation to a much smaller number of meetings.
Changes to the Notice:
- The previous way in which the OGA limited meetings, specifically in relation to Operating Committee Meetings and Technical Committee Meetings, was by listing assets where the obligations would apply. Those assets were identified in the OGA’s Opportunity Matrix. However, the Opportunity Matrix is no longer used to identify areas for the development of Priority Area Plans. Instead, the scope of the Notice for such meetings will now be by reference to Priority Area Plans as identified in the OGA’s most recent overview and listed in the Notice. The list of assets has also been updated to reflect this change.
(Priority Area Plans are a proposal for action developed in partnership between the OGA and the industry as to how economic recovery of oil and gas should be maximised in a particular geographical area of the UKCS. The OGA is working to develop Area Plans across the oil and gas life cycle that integrate exploration, development, production, late-life planning and decommissioning.)
Now out with the scope of the Notice:
- Meetings between the owner of Theddlethorpe Gas Terminal and more than one user of the terminal.
Now included in the scope of the Notice:
- Meetings between one or more owner of Bacton Terminals (Perenco Bacton Terminal and Shell Bacton Terminal) and one or more of its or their shippers.
- Meetings between any or all of the owners of Cheviot and Lancaster fields and the owner(s) of any upstream petroleum infrastructure or persons planning upstream petroleum infrastructure.
Minor drafting changes have been made to increase clarity.
What does this apply to?
The Act gives the OGA the power to participate and attend Relevant Meetings discussing Relevant Issues between Relevant Persons representing them:
- A Relevant Meeting: a meeting involving two or more relevant persons or their representatives at which relevant issues are discussed.
- Relevant Issues: those relevant to fulfilling the principal objective of maximising economic recovery of UK petroleum or relates to activities under an offshore licence. (There is an exception where meetings are legally privileged).
- Relevant Persons: are defined in Section 9A (1)(b) of the Petroleum Act 1998 and include licensees, operators and owners of offshore installations and upstream petroleum and infrastructure.
What must be done?
For any meeting falling within the scope of the Meetings Statutory Notice, the Relevant Person must provide the OGA with:
- At least 14 days’ written notice of any Relevant Meeting, together with sufficient detail to enable the OGA to participate. If it is not practicable to inform the OGA at least 14 days prior, then as much notice as possible must be given along with a written explanation as to why 14 days’ notice could not be given;
- Any written information provided to other attendees relating to relevant issues as soon as possible. This includes documents relevant to the meeting, such as the agenda; and
- If the OGA does not attend, a written summary of the relevant parts of the meeting and the decisions made.
Notifications and all associated written information should be sent to the OGA’s specified email address for those notifications: email@example.com
A meeting between two or more relevant persons or involving discussion of relevant issues is not a relevant meeting for the purposes of the Act unless it is a meeting specified in the Statutory Meetings Notice. Some of the specified meetings are:
- Operating Committee Meetings: meetings held pursuant to an operating agreement which relates to one of the assets in a Priority Area Plan area;
- Technical Committee Meetings: meetings where technical matters under that operating agreement will be discussed and the operating agreement relates to one of the assets in a Priority Area Plan area;
- Exploration and Appraisal Well Pre-investment Meetings: meetings where there is technical peer review on any prospects and undeveloped discoveries, with the intention it will lead to an investment decision.
- Major Project Review Meetings: meetings discussing decision points on major investment projects of £300m or more between joint venture partners.
A full list of the relevant meetings can be found here.