Transfer of Obligations for Licence Data
Under certain circumstances, and in some cases at the discretion of DECC, licensees may either be relieved of or transfer their obligations with respect to Licence Data. Such circumstances include:
National Hydrocarbons Data Archive
Under a PILOT initiative, licensees may, at the discretion of DECC, be granted relief from their obligations to retain Licence Data for a licence (or an agreed part thereof) provided that they transfer an agreed subset of the Licence Data pertaining to the licence (or an agreed part thereof) to the National Hydrocarbons Data Archive.
Details of the Archive process can be found in the Archive Handbook which is available at www.nhda.bgs.ac.uk
A licensee is required to retain for a minimum period of 5 years well cores and cuttings, portions of sea bed samples and/or cores from boreholes penetrating below the sea bed. However at any time after 5 years, licensees may give DECC 6 months’ notice in writing of their intent to dispose of samples. At any time during this notice period, DECC may request the licensees to submit the samples to DECC (or another nominated agent of DECC). If no such request is received by the licensees within the 6 month period then the licensees are free to dispose of the samples.
Specifically for oil samples taken in an exploration well, licensees may give DECC six-months’ notice in writing of their intent to dispose of the oil samples at any time after completion of their analyses. At any time during this 6 month period, DECC may request the licensee to submit a one litre sample to DECC (or a nominated agent of DECC). If no such request is received within the 6 month period then the licensee is free to dispose of the samples. There is no requirement for licensees to retain gas samples once analyses are complete.
Effect of Relinquishment on Responsibility for Licence Records
Licensees’ obligations with respect to the retention and provision of Licence Records survive licence relinquishment and remain, jointly and severally, with all individual members of a licence group except where otherwise explicitly agreed in writing by DECC.
Effect of Licence Assignment on Licence Data Rights and Obligations
A Licence Assignment implies assignment of the rights and obligations attached to the Licence Data associated with the licence in question. However, in the event of default by the new licensee, DECC retains certain rights to look to the previous licensee to satisfy the obligations in default.
The title in Licence Data previously enjoyed by the outgoing licensee (where they can be established) is passed to the incoming licensee. Oil & Gas UK has produced draft guidelines for the transfer of Licence Data in Licence Assignments.