Energy Act 1976

Last updated: 10 February 2022

The Act (as amended by the Energy Act 2016 and Petroleum Act 1998) regulates the use of energy including petroleum resources and electricity, including emergency powers related to energy and restrictions on flaring and venting of natural gas. Since the passage of the Energy Act 2016, authority over flaring and venting restrictions has been vested in the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which is an independent government-owned company. The legislation also states that the OGA is the licensing authority for the oil and gas sector.


The law prohibits flaring and venting of gas except with the consent of the OGA, which must be given in reference to a particular case. Consent is not required if these operations are necessary to reduce or avoid risk or injury to a person, given that the risk could not have been reasonably foreseen in time to avoid the need for disposal, or if it was not reasonably practicable to obtain consent in the time available. Other exceptions are also applicable, including if the flaring or venting activity is permitted under the terms of a production licence or if it is of refinery tail gas produced in the refining of crude liquid petroleum. 


The OGA must be informed of flaring and venting operations as soon as practicable after the gas disposal takes place. The act authorises the OGA to request information, documents and records from the regulated activities. The law also has provisions on inspection and enforcement powers and outlines applicable sanctions.

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