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Report (3rd Day)

Part of Infrastructure Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 10th November 2014.

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Photo of Lord Jenkin of Roding Lord Jenkin of Roding Conservative 4:45 pm, 10th November 2014

My Lords, it needs to be remembered—indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Davies, has acknowledged—that the industry very much welcomed the report of Sir Ian Wood.

Noble Lords will remember that perhaps the most important recommendation that Sir Ian Wood made was that in future if we are to maximise the economic recovery of oil and gas, there needs to be a tripartite partnership of the Government, the industry and the regulator. The industry signed up to that. That has been the basis of the substantial amendments which were moved in Committee with the intention of implementing the Wood review, and I am on record as having welcomed them very warmly.

I am aware of the concerns which have been voiced by the industry—to which the noble Lord, Lord Davies, has referred—but I take much comfort in the recent appointment of Andy Samuel as the chief executive officer of the Oil and Gas Authority. As my right honourable friend Mr Davey announced in the Statement last week:

“This is a significant milestone in the establishment of the OGA and demonstrates our commitment to the UK’s oil and gas industry and implementing Sir Ian’s recommendations”.—[Hansard, Commons, 6/11/14; col. 53WS.]

It has to be remembered that Andy Samuel has a very long background in the industry. He will understand as well as anybody the problems of getting industry members— hitherto seen as competing with each other all the time—to work together in this tripartite arrangement. Therefore, while I understand the concerns, I do not share the problem of the noble Lord, Lord Davies, because I think the industry is well placed to take this forward and achieve the very substantial advantages of additional production and national revenue that were outlined. I think these amendments are probably necessary to reassure the industry but I believe the industry is firmly committed to the tripartite partition for which Sir Ian called.