On 3 October 2017 the OGA updated its Meetings Statutory Notice, amending the list of meetings that fall within the advance notification requirements in Part 2, Chapter 4 of the Energy Act 2016 (the “Act”).
- An updated list of assets for which notice of operator committee meetings (OCMs) and technical committee meeings (TCMs) must be given – the list has been amended to reflect the OGA’s updated opportunity matrix;
- A specific definition of “Joint Operating Agreement” (“JOA”) to try to ensure that all JOAs are caught – now expressly including unit and unitisation operating agreements, pipeline operating agreements and “other operating or similar agreements under or pursuant to which relevant persons regulate their operations”;
- New specific requirements for notification of meetings between owners and users of specified infrastructure;
- New specific requirements for notification of meetings involving some of the owners of specified fields.
What does this apply to?
The Act gives the OGA the power to participate in and attend Relevant Meetings discussing Relevant Issues between Relevant Persons or persons representing them:
- A Relevant Meeting is defined as one involving two or more relevant persons or their representatives at which relevant issues are discussed.
- Relevant Issues are those relevant to fulfilling the principal objective of maximising economic recovery of UK petroleum or concerning activities relating to 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 infrastructure.
What must be done?
For any meeting that falls 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 of the meeting 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 declines to attend, a written summary of the relevant parts of the meeting and the decisions made.
The Meetings Statutory Notice sets out (in paragraphs 12 and 13) how the notification and any associated information is to be given – the OGA has established a specific email address for those notifications: email@example.com. The OGA expects to receive only one notification per meeting, and so Relevant Persons should agree who will attend to this requirement on behalf of all attendees at a particular meeting. Commonly, the operator will carry out this task, although it is not the operator’s exclusive responsibility.
Failure to comply with the obligation to notify is sanctionable under Chapter 5 of the Act.
What are the limitations?
To try to limit the burden of the notification requirement and with an eye on its own levels of resource, the Meetings Statutory Notice sets out an exhaustive list of the meetings which must be notified to the OGA. From 3 October 2017, the meetings which must be notified are only those listed in the Meetings Statutory Notice – summarised as follows:
- Operator Committee Meetings (OCMs): including sub-committees or any sole-risk participants where the JOA relates to the field developments, producing fields and infrastructure listed in the Meetings Statutory Notice. For a full list see: https://www.ogauthority.co.uk/media/4220/meetings-statutory-notice-2017.pdf
- Technical Committee Meetings: technical meetings relating to one of the field developments, producing fields or infrastructure referred to in the Meetings Statutory Notice.
- Exploration and Appraisal Well Pre-investment Meetings: Any technical peer review meetings discussing prospects and undeveloped discoveries, with the intention it will lead to an investment decision. That requirement applies to all assets/licences, not only those on the OCM/TCM notification list.
- Major Project Review Meetings: Meetings discussing decision points on major investment projects of £300m or more between joint venture partners, whether greenfield, brownfield or decommissioning projects. Again, that requirements applies to all assets/licences, not only those on the OCM/TCM notification list.
- Infrastructure Owner/User Meetings: Meetings between the owner and more than one shipper/user of: the Forties Pipeline System, Theddlethorpe Gas Terminal or Sullum Voe Terminal
- Meetings between owners of more than one of Gryphon, Harding, Maclure and Tullich fields.