Converging Energy Governance in Mature Petroleum Provinces: Political, Legal and Economic Dimensions in Governing Mature Petroleum Fields in the North Sea
At the commencement of petroleum production in the North Sea in the 1970s, both the UK and Norwegian governments implemented similar policies and governance strategies. However, UK governance was altered greatly from 1979 when state-owned oil and gas resources were privatised. During this period, the Norwegian government continued along the governance path that had been implemented in the early 1970s, guided by the ten ‘oily commandments’, where oil was developed for the social and economic benefit of the Norwegian state and the people.
After the election of the Tory government in 1979, the UK focused on placing oil and gas production resources into the hands of private actors, reflected in the UK legal and governance framework. However, in 2013, in an era of declining North Sea oil and gas production, the UK government undertook the Wood Review to establish how UK oil and gas in the North Sea can be developed in a way that maximises the economic recovery of the resources. The Wood Review identified the need to alter the existing governance framework in order to maximise recovery, akin to that which has evolved in Norway since the early 1970s. Similar to Norwegian legal requirements that have been enshrined in law since 1985, the implementation of the Wood Review has focused on collaboration between participants and the need for third-party access to infrastructure.
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