Under the terms of the Petroleum Act 1998, and the licences granted thereunder, licensees are obliged to hold accurate records in order to preserve all information about the geology of the licensed area (‘Licence Data’).
The term ‘records’ includes all sub-surface geological and geophysical data, whether ‘raw’ or interpreted. The term however also applies generally to any information connected with activities on the licence in question and at the boundaries this definition is open to interpretation, discussion and negotiation with DECC.
Licence records must be kept in perpetuity (literally ‘forever’) by all licensees; even where records have been provided to and/or published (‘released’) by DECC or its agents.
The Model Clauses referred to by the licence agreements discriminate between ‘records’ (Clauses 31 and 8.2) and ‘samples’ (Clause 33). A licensee is required to retain samples (well cores and cuttings, portions of sea bed samples and/or cores from boreholes penetrating below the sea bed) for a minimum period of 5 years. However at any time after 5 years, licensees may give DECC six months’ notice in writing of their intent to dispose of samples.