UK Government announces plans to boost North Sea oil and gas production

The UK Government has announced plans to boost North Sea oil and gas production in the “nearer term” as part of its long-awaited energy strategy.

A licensing round for new projects is planned for the autumn, with a new taskforce providing “bespoke support” to developments.

Ministers are aiming to make 95 per cent of electricity low carbon by 2030, with plans to ramp up nuclear, wind, solar and hydrogen.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the strategy, including new nuclear and offshore wind plans, would reduce the UK’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.

Picture: Andy Buchanan/WPA pool/Getty ImagesPicture: Andy Buchanan/WPA pool/Getty Images
Picture: Andy Buchanan/WPA pool/Getty Images

The UK Government said the North Sea plans recognise “the importance of these fuels to the transition and to our energy security”.

It said producing gas in the UK has a lower carbon footprint than importing from abroad.

Environmental campaigners have previously called for a halt to new oil and gas projects, citing climate targets.

SNP Energy Secretary Michael Matheson said the "backbone" of the future energy sector was likely to be offshore renewables, particularly wind.

He told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: "The Scottish Government's position is very clear on oil and gas.

"Any new oil and gas reserves that are being opened up need to be compatible with meeting our net zero objectives.

"It's not just the Scottish Government's view, actually, it's also the view of the Committee on Climate Change that's the independent adviser to both the Scottish and UK governments on these matters."

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Elsewhere, he said SNP ministers would use their planning powers to block new nuclear developments north of the border.

Mr Johnson said: “We’re setting out bold plans to scale up and accelerate affordable, clean and secure energy made in Britain, for Britain – from new nuclear to offshore wind – in the decade ahead.

“This will reduce our dependence on power sources exposed to volatile international prices we cannot control, so we can enjoy greater energy self-sufficiency with cheaper bills.”

UK Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said there had been “record high gas prices around the world”.

He said: "We need to protect ourselves from price spikes in the future by accelerating our move towards cleaner, cheaper, home-grown energy.

“The simple truth is that the more cheap, clean power we generate within our borders, the less exposed we will be to eye watering fossil fuel prices set by global markets we can’t control.

“Scaling up cheap renewables and new nuclear, while maximising North Sea production, is the best and only way to ensure our energy independence over the coming years."

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “The UK Government is taking decisive action to ensure that we have a safe and secure long-term domestic energy supply. This has never been more important.

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“We plan to turbocharge energy production right across the country. Key to that will be accelerating our use of green technologies, including wind, solar and new generation nuclear power, to provide low-carbon electricity for homes and businesses across the UK.

“We will also maximise oil and gas production in the North Sea, making the most of our existing assets and expertise.

"This will bolster domestic energy security while at the same time supporting Scottish jobs."



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