The main business in the House of Commons today is the Second Reading debate of the Energy Bill. The Bill enacts another of the Conservatives pledges in the manifesto – to end the subsidy to onshore wind farms. In addition to this the Bill also formally establishes the Oil and Gas Authority as an independent regulator of the oil and gas sector. The Bill will also mean local authorities will have more say on any new applications for onshore wind turbines.
The oil and gas sector makes a large contribution to the UK economy even though production of North Sea oil has fallen in recent years. The idea behind the Oil and Gas Authority is to maximise the economic recovery of petroleum from UK waters as part of what is called the MER UK strategy. The current low price for oil on the world markets means that the need for the oil industry in the UK to operate efficiently is greater than ever.