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Energy Act Awaits Royal Assent



The Energy Act is expected to become law in the next few weeks. The Act is significant for UK Continental Shelf companies who will have to radically change how they make decisions. The Energy Act follows the Maximising Economic Recovery Strategy which became law earlier this year.

The UK oil and gas industry is on the verge of one of the most fundamental changes in its history when the Energy Act receives Royal Assent, according to a specialist at law firm Bond Dickinson.

The Maximising Economic Recovery (MER) Strategy became law in March and the Energy Act is likely to become law in the coming weeks.  When it does so, for the first time ever UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) companies will have to make certain key decisions based on economic analysis and not firmly established legal rules.

Bond Dickinson has undertaken an in-depth study of the implications of the Act and the MER Strategy. The final version, which was published on March 18, is central to the Act’s powers.

Key points in the firm’s analysis include:

– To some considerable extent, UKCS companies will have to make investment decisions based not only on their own economic benefit but for the benefit of the “oil province as a whole.”

– Failure to comply with MER could have profound consequences as the OGA will have significant powers to impose sanctions ranging from financial penalties and the imposition of enforcement notices to the removal of operatorship and the revocation of licences.

– There are potential competition law issues arising from the collaboration which is a key part of the Strategy.

Uisdean Vass, Oil and Gas Partner at Bond Dickinson, says the transformation of the industry’s regulatory regime, borne out of Sir Ian Wood’s landmark review on how to make the most of the huge opportunity the UKCS continues to offer, poses an enormous challenge.

Uisdean Vass said: “It is radical and ground-breaking and heralds the creation of an extensive new regulatory structure. The MER Strategy is innovative but it is also a complex and sometimes controversial document. It is a unique, one-off legal document, and represents the first time a set of business principles have become law in this way. 

“It will be vital for oil companies to stay abreast of the rapid developments taking place and fully understand how MER will impact them. Failure to understand this could have important consequences as the OGA will have significant powers from demanding data generated by oil companies to imposing a wide range of sanctions including financial penalties and revocation of licences.

“The long term future of the UK North Sea oil and gas industry, which is so vital to ensuring that the North-East of Scotland retains the expertise to make it a respected international hub, depends on the success of the OGA and the Strategy.

“While it is visionary, it may well create some legal headaches in the months ahead. For example, we are already being asked questions relating to late life/decommissioning infrastructure and whether precedence will be given to extending life to achieve MER or minimising cost by closing loss-making fields.”

The implications of the changes will be discussed at a seminar at the firm’s London office on May 26 and in Aberdeen on June 2. For more information visit the website.


A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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