18 projects planned

Oil producers test net zero plan with call for new fields

Kraken oil field

The report says producers will invest £21bn over five years

Oil and gas producers are testing the UK government’s resolve on reducing carbon emissions by demanding it approves up to 18 new projects in the North Sea.

OGUK, the industry body, argues that new fields are required to avoid leaving the UK dependent on imports.

The industry is promising to invest up to £21 billion on new fields and extending the life of existing reservoirs over the next five years.

This would unlock 2.7bn barrels of oil equivalent from the region, it said.

OGUK’s demands were laid out in its latest report which is published amid calls for new licences to be halted and production to be scaled back.

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OGUK said a failure to invest in new oil and gas fields to replace those in decline “would mean the UK could meet only a third of its future needs, leaving the nation more reliant on imports”.

Gas imports hit a record high in winter 2021 and “shows the reality” of cutting off domestic production, said the organisation.

It said production from UK waters can meet 95% of domestic oil demand and 54% of gas demand last year and UK ministers should pursue a “managed transition”.

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