PEDL periodic payments

John Wilkinson made this Freedom of Information request to Oil and Gas Authority

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Dear Oil and Gas Authority,

Could you please indicate the total periodic payments made in 2020 for all PEDLs?

Could you also please indicate the specific periodic payments made in 2020 for PEDL 165 (held by Cuadrilla) and individually for PEDLs 164, 261 and 267 (held by Aurora).

Yours faithfully,

John Wilkinson

OGA FOI requests,

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Wilkinson,

Please find attached a response to your recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Oil and Gas Authority.

Yours Sincerely,

FOI Officer.

Oil and Gas Authority is a limited company registered in England and Wales with registered number 09666504 and VAT registered number 249433979. Our registered office is at 21 Bloomsbury Street, London, United Kingdom, WC1B 3HF. For information about how we process data and monitor communications please see our Privacy Statement and for terms of use please see our Terms and Conditions, both available on our website.

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Dear OGA FOI requests,

Thank you for your response dated 28/6/2021 to my Freedom of Information request.

Could you though please explain the legal basis of the 'Variances' column shown in the schedule of periodic payments received in 2020, which have the effect of lowering some of the payments due?

Could you also please explain the legal basis leading to no periodic payments being made in 2020 in relation to the specified PEDLs held by Cuadrilla and Aurora? I note that the original licences made no mention of circumstances in which the periodic payments could be neutralised, and that they indicated that non-payment could lead to the loss of the licences.

Yours faithfully,

John Wilkinson

Dear OGA FOI requests,
Are you now able to supply the clarification requested on the 28th June 2021 regarding your response on the same date to my Freedom of Information Request on the 31st May 2021?

Yours faithfully,

John Wilkinson

OGA FOI requests,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Wilkinson
 
Thank you for your email, following up on our response to your request
under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As your further request does
not actually ask for information held by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA),
rather it asks for an explanation of current laws or policies, it is being
dealt with as ordinary business as opposed to under the FOIA/EIRs
 
Our responses to the two sections of your query are below.

Your question:
 
"Could you though please explain the legal basis of the 'Variances' column
shown in the schedule of periodic payments received in 2020, which have
the effect of lowering some of the payments due?"
 
OGA response:

The variances are due to the amount of periodic payment being pro-rated to
reflect that the periodic payments were waived with effect from 4 November
2019 to the end of that licence period, and for the full 2020/21 licensing
period, as outlined below. The amounts shown as paid in the table were in
respect of the period preceding 4 November 2019. (Please note that there
was an error in the amount waived in respect of PEDL 137. This is
corrected in the attached document.)
 
Your question:

"Could you also please explain the legal basis leading to no periodic
payments being made in 2020 in relation to the specified PEDLs held by
Cuadrilla and Aurora? I note that the original licences made no mention of
circumstances in which the periodic payments could be neutralised, and
that they indicated that non-payment could lead to the loss of the
licences."
 
OGA response:
 
A Written Ministerial Statement was issued on 4 November 2019 (see 
[1]https://questions-statements.parliament....),
which stated that there was a presumption against issuing any further
Hydraulic Fracturing Consents. This was described in the Written
Ministerial Statement as “an effective moratorium”.

Following this Written Ministerial Statement, the OGA received requests
from some onshore operators for waivers from the obligation to make
periodic payments for onshore licences with shale potential. Such requests
were stated to be on the basis that the licensees were denied the right to
get the oil and gas in line with their licences, which were awarded on the
basis that hydraulic fracturing was, at such time, a permitted well
completion technique.

The UK Government’s policy on public sector bodies granting waivers for
payments is outlined in the HM Treasury document Managing Public Money.

Para 4.6.2 of Managing Public Money states that the presumption is that
public sector bodies will seek recovery of all debts unless it is
uneconomic to do so. However, there are instances where a waiver can be
granted, as outlined in Box A4.10D of the document. These include:

•             claims actually made and then reduced in negotiations or for
policy reasons
•             claims arising from actual or believed contractual or other
legal obligations which are not met

The principles of Managing Public Money include regularity and propriety.
The definition of propriety in Box 2.4 includes principles of fairness.
The rental waiver was granted only to licences that could solely be
developed using techniques affected by the government moratorium on the
development of licences with shale potential.

The periodic payments were waived for the period from 4 November 2019 to
the end of that licence period, and for the full 2020/21 licensing period.
The rental waivers were given without prejudice to the question of whether
any waivers will be given for future years. They were also granted on the
basis that the relevant fees would be reinstated on a pro rata basis
should any of the licensees seek to develop the respective sites for
conventional purposes.

 

I hope that this is helpful.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

OGA Correspondence.

 

Oil and Gas Authority is a limited company registered in England and Wales
with registered number 09666504 and VAT registered number 249433979. Our
registered office is at 21 Bloomsbury Street, London, United Kingdom, WC1B
3HF.

For information about how we process data and monitor communications
please see our Privacy Statement and for terms of use please see our Terms
and Conditions, both available on our website.

 

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