Licence consultation

Oil fields may get go-ahead if they cut imports

BP Clair Ridge

Oil fields may have to prove they cut imports

New oil and gas fields in the North Sea could secure licences if they can show they minimise the UK’s reliance on imports.

It is one probable test that could be included in a “climate compatibility checkpoint” for approval of new fields.

The UK government yesterday published proposals for a series of tests as a means of striking a balance between continuing production and moving to cleaner energy under climate change commitments.

A consultation document says one test may be to weigh domestic production and imports.

The industry has argued that Britain will continue to rely on supplies of oil and gas for many years and that any sharp reduction in domestic exploration and production would have to be replaced by overseas supplies.

OGUK, the trade body for the UK offshore oil and gas industry, said the checkpoint will provide a welcome transparency that should be robust enough to withstand challenge.

It added that the climate checkpoint would help ensure that future licensing rounds are compatible with the UK’s climate change goals and ensure investor confidence in the UK Continental Shelf is maintained.

Katy Heidendreich, OGUK supply chain & operations director, said: “The UK’s domestic oil and gas industry has a critical role in maintaining the country’s energy security, being a major contributor to our economy and the sector’s skills, experience and investment will be key to delivering a successful energy transition at pace.

“Our industry welcomes the transparency that a checkpoint for future BEIS licensing decisions provides. It is vital that this checkpoint is robust and ensures that future licensing rounds are compatible with the UK’s climate change ambitions, while maintaining investor confidence in the UK Continental Shelf.”

OGUK will be giving a full submission to the consultation exercise, which closes on 28 February.

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