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Fri Sep 17, 2021, 07:51 AM

3/13 UK Oil & Gas Regulators Own Oil & Gas Stocks, But It Won't Influence Their Decisions, Oh No . .

Campaigners have warned that close links uncovered between the oil and gas industry and the UK’s North Sea regulator, which is responsible for licensing new fields, risk overly “cosy” relationships that might affect the decision making process. Three of the 13 members of the board of directors and senior management team of the Oil and Gas Authority hold sizeable shareholdings in oil companies, amounting to about £225,000, and eight of the 13 previously worked in the oil and gas industry, the news site the Ferret has found, in an investigation funded by the Uplift campaign against fossil fuels.

The findings throw into further controversy ministers’ support for the biggest round of new oil and gas developments and licensing in years, which is taking place while the UK prepares to host the Cop26 UN climate talks in Glasgow in November. The Oil and Gas Authority told the Guardian its board was drawn from professionals from a number of backgrounds, including oil and gas, and pointed out that their knowledge and expertise were vital in helping to regulate a specialised sector.

Mel Evans, the head of oil and gas transition at Greenpeace UK, said: “The OGA is looking awfully cosy with industry. How can a supposedly unbiased regulator deliver its role, taking climate science into account, with such a huge ex-oil industry presence and ongoing vested interests in maintaining the status quo on oil and gas extraction?”

Greenpeace is challenging the licence to the Cambo oilfield, near Shetland, which Shell and Siccar Point Energy plan to exploit under a permit initially granted in 2004. This month, lawyers for the government told the court that climate change concerns were “not relevant” to decisions to grant oil permits.



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