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To ensure that new and smaller players in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) can develop and bring onstream discoveries which require third party infrastructure, the Infrastructure Code of Practice (ICoP), which outlines the best practice and expected behaviour of those who conduct negotiations for access to infrastructure, was introduced. The ICoP and accompanying guidance notes were updated in 2012 following a review by the PILOT Infrastructure Access Group (IAG).

The purpose of ICoP is to facilitate the utilisation of infrastructure for the development of remaining UKCS reserves through timely agreements for access on fair and reasonable terms, where risks taken are reflected by rewards. By their endorsement of the ICoP, parties make a commitment to be guided by its principles and procedures.

The ICoP is relevant to all companies currently doing or prospectively seeking business in the UKCS. It calls on all UKCS licensees, infrastructure owners, operators and prospective users to adhere to its principles.

Principles

  • Parties uphold infrastructure safety and integrity and protect the environment
  • Parties follow the Commercial Code of Practice (CCoP)
  • Parties provide meaningful information to each other prior to and during commercial negotiations
  • Parties support negotiated access in a timely manner
  • Parties undertake to ultimately settle disputes through the Automatic Referral Notice (ARN) process which involved the Secretary of State
  • Parties resolve conflicts of interest
  • Infrastructure owners provide transparent and non-discriminatory access
  • Infrastructure owners provide tariffs and terms for unbundled services, where requested and practicable
  • Parties seek to agree fair and reasonable tariffs and terms, where risks taken are reflected by rewards
  • Parties publish key, agreed commercial provisions

The ICoP and related guidance notes state that information should be made available to appropriate parties at various stages in access negotiations such as a Statement of Requirements (sent from bona-fide enquirer to infrastructure owner) or an Infrastructure Access Agreement Summary (to be used to summarise construction tie-in, transportation and processing agreements by the owner/operator for inclusion in the publication of key commercial terms).

Important documents

The ICoP and guidance notes can be accessed here. They refer to the following templates for the necessary information exchange:

Industry compliance

Oil & Gas UK regularly reviews compliance with the ICoP via the gathering of feedback from a representative cross-section of enquirers and operators of third party infrastructure systems. Data has been taken from operator websites and the Automatic Referral Notice (ARN) process. The reviews to date have shown that the ICoP has positively influenced processes and behaviours. Continued usage, experience and education has improved understanding of the code requirements and provisions.

Looking ahead

Oil & Gas UK continues to help ensure that ICoP acts as intended and that any issues causing concern are identified, addressed and resolved, through the following initiatives:

 

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