Managing director of BG Group Andy Samuel has been selected to lead the Oil and Gas Authority, a newly established body to oversee the North Sea oil and gas sector.
Following his appointment, Samuel said he was aware the challenges the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) will face but expressed belief that the sector still can have a strong future.
"I am honoured to have been chosen to lead the OGA,” Samuel said. "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.”
The appointment was made public at the same time as the UK government announced one of the biggest ever rounds of licensing for work in the North Sea, with 134 new licences being offered.
OGA was set up upon the recommendation of Sir Ian Wood who conducted a complex review of the North Sea oil and gas sector. The Wood Review concluded that due to the increasingly complex nature of the industry, the existing regulatory mechanisms were ''no longer adequate''. However, it said, more efficient regulation could help increase the production of oil from the North Sea fields by at least three to four billion barrels over the next 20 years.
The industry is now being asked to provide its views on the scope of the new regulator and what powers and sanctions it should have, as well as how to maximise the amount of oil that can be recovered from the North Sea.
"Oil and gas is one of the UK's most valuable industries, supporting 450,000 jobs in Scotland and across the country,” said Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.
“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."
UK Energy 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."
Sir Ian said he has "every confidence" Samuel will be an "excellent appointment", and added: "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 UK continental shelf."