To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 10 April (HL15067), what, if any, ongoing assessment or review is being conducted of the ability of operators to fulfil their responsibilities and fund decommissioning costs after (1) the issuance of a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence, and (2) the granting of Hydraulic Fracturing Consent.
The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) is responsible for ensuring that operators are fulfilling their responsibilities under their licence. As such, the OGA has the ability to carry out financial assessments to review an operator’s ability to fund its activities within the licence area, which would include decommissioning of any wells drilled. These financial assessments take place when there is a licence transaction to consider, such as changes of control, or where other approvals are sought such as drilling consent and field development consent.
In addition, the Secretary of State may withdraw Hydraulic Fracturing Consent if there has been a material change in circumstances and my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State no longer considers it appropriate to remain in force.