LONDON – Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) is investigating why the proposed sale by Esso Exploration & Production Ltd. (EEPUK) of 13 producing offshore fields to NEO Energy is not progressing as quickly as expected.
Negotiations started in February. The OGA is particularly concerned about the Elgin-Franklin fields in the central North Sea, operated by TotalEnergies E&P UK: consent is required from all eight joint venture partners for this transaction to take effect.
Collaboration, it points out, is obligatory under the OGA Strategy and a failure to comply is sanctionable under the Energy Act 2016.
Relevant persons must collaborate and co-operate with others seeking to acquire an interest or invest in offshore licenses or infrastructure, it adds.
In October 2020, the OGA’s Thematic Review into Industry Compliance with Regulatory Obligations examined compliance in six areas of interaction between the OGA and licensees.
It identified good and improving, practice, but also noted the need for further improvement, warning that sanctions could follow in cases where breaches had come to light.
The investigation will examine the engagement between the parties since EEPUK and NEO Energy since last February 2021, and will serve notice to the parties to account for their actions since the transaction was proposed.