New Oil and Gas Authority Director Confirmed

Published at 12:25PM - 11/11/14

A former director from BG Group has been confirmed as the new head of the Oil and Gas Authority. It’s a new body which is paying £330,000 annually for the position. This means that he will be one of the highest-paid civil servants in the UK.

The job has gone to Andy Samuel, who will earn £280,000 as a basic salary at the new OGA and receive an annual bonus which could be worth as much as £50,000 on top. Within his role he will be charged with maximising outputs from the UK’s dwindling oil and gas reserves. Mr Samuels is currently the MD of BG Group’s European exploration and production business.

Mr Samuel’s salary package puts him in line with the Chief Investment Officer of Green Investment Bank, Ian Nolan, who also earns up to £330,000 each year, dependent on performance, and currently holds the honour of being the highest-paid head of a publicly funded government body. Interestingly, both men earn more than the Prime Minister, despite talk of ‘cracking down’ on extremely high civil servant pay packages.

The Oil and Gas Authority is being created in the light of the recent industry review led by Sir Ian Wood. One of Sir Ian’s recommendations was to create a new industry body that would possess significant powers to help it maximise the amount and value of remaining hydrocarbon production in the UK North Sea. The newly created authority will effectively be taking over the work that was previously managed and led by the DECC, and it will control the country’s oil and gas fields.

A DECC spokesperson said that the change was instrumental in pushing government stewardship of UK hydrocarbon resources forward, which necessitated a healthy salary package to attract the right level of applicants to the role.

The government is convinced that the country’s remaining North Sea oil reserves are key to the country’s economy and energy security of supply. Sir Ian Wood’s review suggested that the recommendations could result in an additional 3-4 billion b/oe being produced within the next two decades.

This year, figures showed the UK North Sea outputs fell to their lowest levels since the seventies. OPEC said that the area surrounding Scotland’s coast would be subject to a production fall of up to 800,000 oil barrels daily, from a peak in 1999 of around 2.9 barrels.

Mr Samuel said that he felt ‘honoured’ to have been awarded his new position as head of the Oil and Gas Authority, adding that he knew about the industry’s challenges ‘first-hand’ and felt confident that he would be able to provide a healthy future for the country’s oil and gas industry by implementing the measures laid out in the Wood Review.

Mr Samuel will be taking up his new role from April and initially will be working to a three-year contract on fixed terms, with the potential for his position to be extended for further years.

Another well-known figure, but this time from the City of London, will be taking up the position of head of Energy UK. Sir David Arculus has no background in the industry, but he has previously been chairman of O2 and Severn Trent.

Last updated on 01:43PM - 12/11/14