Studies show that the production levels coming out of the North Sea have dropped by as much as 40% in the past three years compared to previous levels. In additional to this efficiency levels regarding the extraction of the nation’s most precious commodity has fallen to a devastating 60%. At a time when the UK as a whole are working towards energy efficiency and specifically decreasing their dependence on foreign imports these statistic are unacceptable.
The Role of Andy Samuels
In order to increase both the efficiency and the level of oil and gas production coming out of the North Sea to those previously recorded the decision to appoint Andy Samuel was made. Samuel, previously the managing director of BG, the European production and exploration company will start his new role this month as head of the newly formed OGA (Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority).
OGA is to be the regulatory body responsible for bridging the gaps between the industry as a whole and the North Sea operators. The expected results of this work is freeze any ongoing decline in production and indeed look to pro-actively reverse it in order to bring the industry at least back in line with previously acceptable levels.
Controversy Regarding Samuel’s Significant Salary
There are some who have raised concerns regarding the DECC spending such an amount on one person’s salary which breaks down as £280,000 annually in addition to a yearly performance bonus of £50,000. This will place Samuel in third position of the list of highest paid UK civil servants. Indeed the Prime Minister himself earns a more modest £124,500 per annum.
Supporters of the appointment however measure Samuel’s salary and expected bonuses against the significantly higher losses the country has suffered as a result if the decline in the industry. If as predicted Samuels will be able to effectively address and reverse the drop in production his wages will be only a tiny portion over the three years compared to the gain to the oil and gas industry and the UK economy as a result.
While not everyone approves of the cost of this so-called energy tsar there are few who may disagree with the concerns to ongoing decline in production are causing. If indeed Samuels does turn the industry around he will, alongside the OGA be responsible for safeguarding the 450,000 jobs across Scotland and the UK involved in North Sea oil and gas, as well as the protection of the UK’s most precious and much needed industry.