Oil and Pipelines Agency

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Oil and Pipelines Agency
Formation 1985
Type Statutory Corporation
Parent organization
Ministry of Defence
22 (March 2010)[1]

The Oil and Pipelines Agency (OPA) is a statutory corporation of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in the United Kingdom. Its current role is to operate six coastal Oil Fuel Depots on behalf of the MoD. The OPA was also previously responsible for the management of the Government Pipelines and Storage System (GPSS), until its sale in 2015. The OPA is the MoD’s professional expert on bulk fuels storage and transportation by pipeline.


The OPA was formed at the end of 1985[2] by virtue of the Oil and Pipelines Act 1985.[3] Its statutory role was to be responsible for the safe, efficient, economic and effective management of the GPSS. The OPA's tasks included maximising private sector usage of the GPSS provided this did not impinge upon its primary purpose of supplying the required fuel for defence purposes and did not require capital investment from public funds. The GPSS, a strategic defence asset, was the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Defence and the MoD sponsored the OPA as its managing agent through Defence Equipment and Support.

In February 2012, Costain was awarded a three year contract to operate and maintain the GPSS on behalf of the OPA.[4] In August 2014, the contract was extended for a further year, until April 2016.

In May 2012 the UK Government announced plans sell all or part of the GPSS[5] and legislation to enable it to do so was included in the Energy Act 2013.

In March 2015, the government announced it had agreed to sell the GPSS to Compañía Logística de Hidrocarburos (CLH) for £82m, with CLH taking over operation of the GPSS on 30 April 2015. A contractual agreement between the MoD and CLH ensured military fuel requirements continued to be met using the GPSS. The residual OPA remained to manage 6 Naval Oil Fuel Depots not included in the sale.[6]


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