An Order in Council allows the Secretary of State for DECC to issue a Direction under the Energy Act 1976 which has the effect of restricting, prohibiting or maximising the production of petroleum. A key element in DECC’s strategy of minimising disruption will be to maintain the supply of gas through the National Transmission System. The Direction may include details of any action necessary to maintain or maximise gas production, including temporarily ceasing production from certain fields to minimise liquids throughput and allow the gas fields priority to flow. Details will be determined in collaboration with industry, seeking legal advice where necessary.
If the occasion should warrant such extreme action, DECC will direct the operator of selected fields or terminals to immediately carry out the appropriate instructions and/or to liaise with the terminal/field operator to ensure the Directions are carried out in an orderly manner. The licensees of the selected fields will also be similarly directed.
An example Direction letter is provided at ANNEX F.