Queen’s Speech: Gov’t to boost energy security through Energy Bill

Measures will be introduced to increase energy security in the UK, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth said today in a speech delivered to both Houses of Parliament at the State Opening of Parliament 2015 in the UK.

According to the Queen’s Speech background briefs, the energy security will be boosted by the Energy Bill which will ensure affordable and reliable energy for businesses and families; give the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) the powers it needs to become a robust, independent and effective regulator, and enable it to maximise the economic recovery of oil and gas from UK waters; and  Change the law in line with the manifesto commitment to give local communities the final say on wind farm applications.

The main benefits of the Bill would be: Increasing industry collaboration, driving down costs for consumers and attracting further investment to improve the overall competitiveness of the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS); Bringing revenue to the UK contributing to economic growth and creating jobs; Maximising the economic recovery of offshore oil and gas reserves, prolonging the life of the basin and helping to ensure the UK’s energy security. Furthermore the Energy bill would ensure local planning authorities have consenting powers for all onshore wind farms.

The Bill would formally establish the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) as an independent regulator, which would take the form of a government company, charged with the asset stewardship and regulation of domestic oil and gas recovery. The Bill would transfer the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change’s existing regulatory powers to the OGA.

The Secretary of State’s regulatory functions in relation to the environment would not be transferred. It would give the OGA additional powers including access to company meetings; data acquisition, retention and transfer; dispute resolution and sanctions. According to the notes, the Bill would increase the scope of fees and charges to target the costs of the OGA more closely to those who directly benefit from its services and functions. The Bill would  also introduce provisions in relation to charges for the regulator’s services to the industry.

 

Oil & Gas UK welcomes the Energy Bill

 

Oil & Gas UK, an organisation representing the oil and gas industry in the UK, has issued a positive response to the news of new Energy Bill.

Oil & Gas UK’s chief executive, Deirdre Michie, said: “We welcome the inclusion of an Energy Bill as part of the 2015–2016 parliamentary legislative session announced at the State Opening of Parliament today (Wednesday 27 May). This Bill will formally establish the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) as an independent, government company (GovCo). The OGA is a critical catalyst for the work being done to sustain offshore activity.

“We look forward to receiving further details of this new legislation when the Bill is published, that will complete the implementation of Sir Ian Wood’s recommendations for MER UK – Maximising Economic Recovery from the UK continental shelf, in addition to providing the full set of tools and capabilities that the new regulator will need to do this job effectively and efficiently. We hope Government will bring forward this legislation as soon as possible.

“We are at a critical stage in the history of UK offshore oil and gas development and bold steps need to be taken now to ensure strong activity continues into the future. Oil & Gas UK is dedicated to continuing its engagement with the OGA and HM Treasury, forming a tripartite approach to maximising economic recovery of the UK’s substantial remaining oil and gas reserves, as recommended in the Wood Report and agreed by all major parties, bringing through the change that is so urgently required.

“The commissioning of the Wood Review and implementation of its recommendations, and the tax changes announced in the 2015 Budget, laid strong foundations for the regeneration of the UK North Sea. The focus of the industry now is to continue its hard work to increase efficiency and address its cost base.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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