To get a flavour of just how interventionist this bastard quango is allowed to be, feast your eyes on Chapter 4, entitled 'Meetings'. In brief, if anyone operating in the North Sea is holding a meeting between two more more companies, they must give the OGA 14 days notice about it, and the OGA can insist on attending. Or join in the conference-call: yes, they've thought of that one.
Pause for effect.
For a decade I was extremely active in this sector and let me tell you, the number of meetings between companies was astonishing. This is because (a) it's very usual to form joint ventures to carry out exploration & production in the North Sea, sometimes with many companies involved (check out how many licencees there are in some North Sea permits); and (b) because oil and gas fields often straddle more than one production licence. The sector has consolidated a bit over the years due to the natural decline in production, but the same principle pertains.
And now the man from the OGA has a right to dip in his wick at all times**. We haven't had dirigisme like this since Tony Benn made BNOC a carried participant in every licence back in 1975. But this is 2016, under a majority Conservative government.
And guess what.
'Andy Samuel, Chief Executive of the OGA welcomed the news that the Energy Bill has now gained Royal Assent. "This is an important step in establishing the OGA with the necessary powers ..." 'I'll bet he bloody did. And, to repeat myself, this is 2016, under a majority Conservative government.
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** I have a feeling they'll be deluged by hundreds of notifications of "meetings to discuss what biscuits to serve on the Brent Alpha platform" etc. Also, m'learned friends have not been slow to point out that the Act doesn't take precedence over legal privilege. And for a small fee, no doubt, they'll be happy to tag along to discuss the biscuits ...