1.The Committee, by letter (sent by email) dated 22 November 2017, asked the Department to submit a memorandum to explain the following point:
Explain the significant interval between making and laying.
2.These regulations amend the Model Clauses to be incorporated in Seaward Production Licences so as to implement the Oil and Gas Authority’s ‘Innovate’ model for licences issued in the 30th Seaward Licensing Round onwards. They also make minor amendments to other Regulations related to petroleum licensing.
3.There was an administrative error in that the Statutory Instrument was submitted for laying whilst the associated Impact Assessment was still with the Regulatory Policy Committee for final clearance ahead of publication. As the Impact Assessment was not included in the bundle, despite being referred to in the Explanatory Note and Explanatory Memorandum, the Statutory Instrument was withdrawn by the Registrar before it was laid. In the expectation that the Impact Assessment would be cleared imminently, and to avoid a delay between laying the Statutory Instrument and the Impact Assessment, the Department waited to lay the Statutory Instrument until the final Impact Assessment was ready. With hindsight, this was the wrong decision as it resulted in a delay of just over two weeks between making the Statutory Instrument and laying it.
4.The Department accepts that the Statutory Instrument should have been laid as soon as possible after it was made. Moreover, at the point that the issue with the Impact Assessment was identified, the Department should have considered whether delay could have been avoided by laying the Impact Assessment in draft, or laying the Statutory Instrument without the Impact Assessment.
5.Whilst the delay in laying the Statutory Instrument was clearly regrettable, the Department does not believe that it resulted in any negative impact upon industry or other stakeholders. The Statutory Instrument was laid on 25 August, allowing 21 days before coming into force on 15 September. Furthermore, the 30th Seaward Licensing Round did not close for applications until 21 November 2017, and information about the model clauses that would be used in any licences awarded was available throughout the application window.
6.Nevertheless, the Department apologises for the delay and will seek to ensure this doesn’t occur in future. We hope that the above explanation and acknowledgement of error will assist the Committee.
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
28 November 2017
7 December 2017