Energy plan

New North Sea oil and gas licences delayed

Maersk oil field
More than 100 licences will be issued

New oil and gas licences in the North Sea will not be announced until the official mourning period for the Queen ends on September 20, said the industry regulator.

Prime Minister Liz Truss last week said that more than 100 oil and gas North Sea exploration licences would be approved as part of a package of measures to boost the UK’s energy security and curb soaring costs. This would be the first British oil and gas licensing rounds since 2019.

The North Sea Transition Authority, formerly known as the Oil and Gas Authority, is responsible for issuing oil and gas exploration licences. But it said the government cannot make an announcement during the mourning period.

The decision to allow more drilling has angered climate change campaigners who regard it as betrayal of commitments to reduce carbon emissions.

However, countries across Europe have been forced to take emergency measures as wholesale energy prices have rocketed, mainly because of the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The UK government last week announced a curb on energy prices to help struggling families and businesses though details are awaited.

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