Andy Samuel, currently Managing Director of BG Group's Exploration and Production in Europe, has been appointed as the chief executive of the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA).

The government is also asking industry and others for their views on how best to deliver the next stage of Sir Ian Wood's recommendations. In a call for evidence industry are being asked for views on the governance and scope of the new regulator, the Maximising Economic Recovery UK strategy, the new regulatory powers of the Oil and Gas Authority and its sanctions regime and the cost recovery mechanism.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: "'It's vital for Government to work closely with industry to maintain Britain's energy security and Andy is superbly placed to steer the OGA to maximise the economic recovery of our oil and gas resources. We're also asking industry for their views to make sure we implement the Wood Review recommendations in the most efficient and practical way.'

Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:

"Oil and gas is one of the UK's most valuable industries, supporting 450,000 jobs in Scotland and across the country. It's great that Andy Samuel, with his wealth of experience and knowledge, will become the CEO of the new Oil and Gas Authority, shaping the future of not just the industry but the entire UK economy.

"I look forward to working with Andy as he implements the finding of the Wood Review, ensuring that both the industry and the nation continue to benefit from the billions of barrels of North Sea oil that still remain to be extracted."

New Chief Executive of the OGA, Andy Samuel said:

"I am honoured to have been chosen to lead the OGA. I know first-hand the challenges industry currently faces and am confident that implementing the vision set out in the Wood Review will create a strong future for the UK's oil and gas industry. I have much enjoyed my time at BG Group, with a lot to be grateful for, and am now looking forward to establishing the OGA and setting its priorities in the New Year."
Sir Ian Wood said:

"The CEO will be of fundamental importance to the establishment and effectiveness of the OGA and I have every confidence that Andy will prove to be an excellent appointment. The OGA will need to work very closely with industry over the coming years and Andy's impressive experience and the significant credibility he holds within the industry will put him in a very strong position to encourage the industry collaboration that is needed as we enter the next phase of the UKCS."

This is one of the first major milestones in establishing the OGA, a key recommendation in the Wood Review. The OGA will be a strong, proactive and informed regulator that will be tasked with maximising the economic recovery of our oil and gas resources, and will be established in April 2015. Andy will begin his role officially on 1st January 2015.

Also being announced are the 134 licences covering 252 blocks offered in the 28th offshore licensing round. A further group of applications will be decided later, after environmental assessments, but this looks like being one of the biggest rounds ever in the five decades since the first licensing round in 1964.

Business and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock said:
"The North Sea provides a safe, secure, home-grown energy supply for the UK. We are determined to make the most out of the North Sea and have moved quickly to implement the findings of Sir Ian Wood's review.

"This successful licensing round, which is on track to be one of biggest rounds ever in five decades, is a boost for the UK economy and shows that our long term economic plan is working. We are creating more jobs by backing business with better infrastructure investment. Industry are scrambling over themselves invest in the UK and explore for energy."

The Wood Review stated that full and swift implementation of its recommendations could lead to an additional 3-4 billion barrels of oil equivalent being produced over the next 20 years. The government fast tracked the recommendations of the Wood Review to maximise the potential of the North Sea and make sure the whole of the UK benefits.

As part of the UK, Scotland is front and centre of this Government's plan to support and harness our significant energy potential. The scale of the UK economy provides an attractive environment for investment in Scotland and being part of the integrated GB market of over 30 million households and businesses ensures energy security whilst also keeping energy costs low for all.

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