Call to invest in North Sea to secure supplies
Continued investment in North Sea oil and gas will provide a vital bedrock for reliable energy supplies through the transition to renewables sources, says a new report.
Offshore Energies UK says the UK’s surrounding seas contain reserves equivalent to 15 billion barrels of oil – enough to fuel the UK for 30 years.
It has welcomed new Prime Minister Liz Truss’s pledge to boost domestic energy supply and security amid turmoil in the international market made worse by Russia’s manipulation of gas flows into Europe.
OEUK’s Economic Report: A Focus on UK Energy Security, published today examines the impacts of the global energy crisis on the UK and the nation’s prospects for boosting future energy independence.
The report calls for an action plan focused on a rapid acceleration of investment into such resources. It says this should include announcing the next round of North Sea oil and gas exploration licences as soon as possible alongside a rapid expansion of offshore wind.
The government’s key aim, says the report, must be to maximise the UK’s energy independence and reduce its vulnerability to further global price shocks and shortages.
OEUK’s acting CEO Mike Tholen said: “Our report is a red alert for UK energy security. Today 24 million UK homes are heated by gas boilers; 30-plus gas-fired power stations produce about 40% of our electricity, and we have 32 million vehicles running on diesel and petrol.
“The UK’s homes and businesses cannot yet do without these fuels, but Putin’s war in Ukraine shows the risks of relying on other countries for energy. Our North Sea reserves mean the UK can protect itself – provided we invest – as well as building the low-carbon systems for the future
“It means we must expand the supply of low carbon energy including wind and hydrogen but the scale-up will take time. UK gas will give us a bedrock of reliable energy through the transition and minimise reliance on imports.
“In practical terms we need the new government to rapidly announce the next round of oil and gas exploration licenses and speed up production approvals.”