Ukraine conflict: North Sea gas production to ramp up over energy security fears

North Sea gas production is being increased amid fears over energy supplies amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

According to reports in The Herald, five new fields have already started producing in recent weeks, with more set to go online in the coming months.

The Herald also reported that the Glendronach gas field off Shetland has been given the go ahead and will begin production in 2024.

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A spokesman for the North Sea regulator, the UK Oil and Gas Authority added 28 fields had been given approval in principle.

He said "There are more projects in the UK continental shelf at a lesser stage of maturity which will likely come forward in 2023 and later years for concept selection and field development plan gates."

He also confirmed that five new gas fields, Arran, Finlaggan and Columbus, Buzzard Phase 2 and Breagh Phase 2, have come online so far in 2022 with more set to be rolled out later this year.

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A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government’s position is clear, that unlimited extraction of fossil fuels is not consistent with our climate obligations and we call again on the UK Government, who have the power to act in this instance, to urgently re-assess all approved oil licences where drilling has not yet commenced against our climate commitments.

According to reports, North Sea gas production is being ramped up amid global fears over energy security. Picture; JPIMediaAccording to reports, North Sea gas production is being ramped up amid global fears over energy security. Picture; JPIMedia
According to reports, North Sea gas production is being ramped up amid global fears over energy security. Picture; JPIMedia

“Our position has been supported by the UK and Scottish Government’s statutory advisers on climate change, the Committee on Climate Change, who agreed that any effective and credible checkpoint must extend beyond new licensing rounds to also cover those fields that have already been consented but are not yet in production – such as Cambo."

He added: “We are already investing in the sector’s net zero transformation. In addition to our expanded, £75 million Energy Transition Fund and £100 million Green Jobs Fund, our £500 million Just Transition Fund will support the north east and Moray become one of Scotland’s centres of excellence for the transition to a net zero economy.”

A UK Government spokesman said: "The UK has no issues with either gas or oil supply. In addition to domestically produced energy, the UK has access to diverse and flexible sources of both gas and oil, and we remain confident energy security will be maintained.

“There will continue to be ongoing demand for oil and gas over the coming decades while we transition to low carbon energy. In the meantime, we will continue to back North Sea oil and gas production for security of supply during this transition."

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Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Liam Kerr welcomed the new exploration.

He said: “The appalling acts committed by Vladimir Putin should have convinced the Scottish Government to support efforts to secure Scotland’s energy supply.

“But Nicola Sturgeon, backed by her extremist Scottish Green colleagues, fail to acknowledge this new reality.

“Scotland should increase oil and gas production to meet our domestic needs, and to allow us to export to countries who are currently reliant on Russian gas. Not only would this hinder Putin’s war effort, it would support Scottish jobs as we transition safely and gradually away from oil and gas."

Industry figures released in 2021 reported 71,500 people were employed in the North Sea industry and that it was responsible for 12 per cent of total Scottish GDP.