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Hundreds of North Sea sites available as new licensing round announced

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Hundreds of North Sea sites available as new licensing round announced By Proactive Investors

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Commodities 1 hour ago (Oct 07, 2022 09:40)

© Reuters Hundreds of North Sea sites available as new licensing round announced

Britain’s government today launched a new North Sea oil and gas licensing round immediately putting it on a collision course with climate groups and the Scottish parliament.

An additional 898 sites are available under the new round with up to as many as 130 exploration licences expected to be awarded.

Those near existing infrastructure are likely to be prioritised ahead of more remote locations

Liz Truss had promised more North Sea development when she took over as PM last month.

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg today said: “Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine means it is now more important than ever that we make the most of sovereign energy resources.”

Critics say developing new fossil fuel sources is incompatible with the government’s climate change objectives, something oil industry supporters dismiss, saying that the North Sea will replace imported oil and have a net benefit.

Climate group Greenpeace countered this view: “This government’s energy policy benefits fossil fuel companies and no one else,” Philip Evans, the lobby group’s energy transition campaigner told the BBC.

“New oil and gas licences won’t lower energy bills for struggling families this winter or any winter soon nor provide energy security in the medium term.”

Michael Matheson, Scotland’s net zero and energy secretary, added: “It is alarming that the UK government appears to believe that licensing of more than 100 new oil and gas fields will not materially impact the ability of the UK to reach net zero by 2050 and reckless to believe that this approach is in any way consistent with our climate obligations.”

Results from the tender process will be announced next Spring, though production from any of the licences awarded will likely be years away, said experts.

North Sea oil and gas production has been in steady decline for decades but trade body Offshore Energies UK estimates as much as 15bn barrels of oil might still be commercially recoverable.

Read more on Proactive Investors UK

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