By DARA BUTTERFIELD
Andy Samuel has been appointed chief executive-designate of the new Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) which is to be set up in Aberdeen.
Ed Davey, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: “It’s vital for Government to work closely with industry to maintain Britain’s energy security and Andy is superbly placed to steer the OGA to maximise the economic recovery of our oil and gas resources.”
Malcolm Webb, Oil & Gas UK’s retiring chief executive, said: “Oil & Gas UK welcomes the news that Andy Samuel is to head up the new OGA as its first chief executive.
“Andy Samuel is a highly respected industry figure, well-known in Oil & Gas UK circles. An outstanding professional of great integrity and vision, Andy has precisely the right qualities we need in a leader to take forward the industry and government’s shared ambition of maximising economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources.
Samuel has said that he is looking forward to his work establishing the OGA and is keen to start work on “equipping it with the right people, skills and culture it will require to perform its role effectively”.
He added: “I know first-hand the challenges industry currently faces and am confident that implementing the vision set out in the Wood Review will create a strong future for the UK’s oil and gas industry.
“I have much enjoyed my time at BG Group, with a lot to be grateful for, and am now looking forward to establishing the OGA and setting its priorities in the New Year.”
Samuel has been given a three year fixed term contract, with the option of a three year extension.
Meanwhile, Oonagh Werngren, Oil & Gas UK’s operations manager, said that yesterday’s announcement by the UK Government that it is to award 134 licences to companies wanting to explore for oil and gas on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) is very welcome. While the number of licences is less than the record number of applications in the 27th licensing round, this news is a good sign that investors continue to show interest in the basin.
The industry is facing a number of major challenges, including the lowest level of exploration for some time and rising costs in the sector. It is extremely important to ensure the award of these licenses translates into the drilling of more successful wells on the UKCS, and we need to ensure the pipeline of new developments continues to flow from the basin.
On a more positive note, it is encouraging to see companies beginning to look seriously at frontier areas, stepping away from the known basins and into deeper water. We also note licenses for 94 Blocks in the licensing round are in, or close to, areas under special protection and conservation. We would encourage the Government to carry out environmental assessments urgently so that these additional areas (with all measures implemented to protect the environment) can contribute to boosting activity in the basin.
Full implementation of Sir Ian Wood’s recommendations for regulatory reform, and far-sighted changes to the fiscal regime, are needed to step up momentum.