The Offshore Pollution Liability Association Ltd


Member Update


From 1 April 2015, a Member who is not an Operator must complete and submit a form to certify their status.

OPOL documents effective from 1 April 2015 have been amended to reflect this change. They define an "Operator" as "a Person which by agreement with other

Persons has been authorised to, and does, manage, conduct, and control the operation of an Offshore Facility" or one who does so where only it has an interest in the Offshore Facility.

From 1 January 2016, the definition of "Operator" also specifically provides

that sub-contracting or outsourcing all or any part of the operations of an offshore facility will not result in that person ceasing to be an operator for the purpose of OPOL.

Please refer to the Agreement, Rules and Forms for further information


All offshore operators currently active in exploration and production on the UKCS are party to a voluntary oil pollution compensation scheme known as OPOL.

On this website you can find out more about OPOL, read and download copies of the OPOL Agreement, Articles of Association, Memorandum of Association, Rules, Information for Prospective Members and Guidelines for Claimants. If you wish to print individual web pages - please use 'landscape' mode for best results

Address and contact details for OPOL may be found here...

The Agreement came into effect on 1st May 1975, and was initially an interim measure to provide for a strict liability regime, whilst awaiting a regional Convention of Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage resulting from Exploration for and Exploitation of Seabed Mineral Resources (CLEE).

However the nine participating States were unable to agree and the final text of the treaty remains unratified and the UK Government judged that their interests could best be achieved through the continuing working of OPOL.

In particular, emphasis was placed on the value of the mutual guarantee which OPOL members bear for each other's obligations which would not have been the case under the l976 Convention.

OPOL applies to all offshore facilities from which there is a risk of a discharge of oil causing pollution damage, and provides a convenient means of seeing compliance by licensees with the provisions of model Clause 23(9) of the Petroleum Licensing Production (Seaward Areas) Regulations 2008. It is further reinforced by the inclusion of a standard OPOL Clause in all Joint Operating Agreements.

In addition, operators have been able to use the financial responsibility demonstrated to OPOL to satisfy their financial responsibility verification obligations to the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) relating to exploration and appraisal wells on the UKCS in respect of remediation and compensation up to US$250 million. For further information about this, please see DECC's "Guidance Note to UK Offshore Oil & Gas Operators on the Demonstration of Financial Responsibility before Consent may be Granted for Exploration and Appraisal Wells on the UKCS" dated 12 December 2012 and Oil & Gas UK's "Guidelines to assist licensees in demonstrating Financial Responsibility to DECC for the Consent of Exploration & Appraisal Wells in the UKCS", Issue 1 November 2012. Details of DECC's Guidance Note and the OGUK Guidelines can be accessed respectively from the DECC's website at:
and from OGUK's website at:

OPOL has been extended to cover facilities in other offshore areas of North West Europe and has the support of the UK and other Governments. It is accepted as representing the committed response of the oil industry in dealing with compensation claims arising from offshore oil pollution incidents from exploration and production facilities.

OPOL Limits of Liability have been increased over the intervening years to the current US$ 250 million per incident.

Download the 2014 Directors' Report and Financial Statements here...

The 2013 Directors' Report and Financial Statements are here...