Energy strategy: Plans to boost North Sea oil and gas production – BBC News


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Copy link About sharing Related Topics Climate change Image source, Getty Images Image caption, The UK government hopes to accelerate production of North Sea oil and gas The UK government plans to accelerate domestic production of oil and gas in the North Sea as part of its energy strategy.

A licensing round for new projects is planned to launch this summer.

The strategy, which aims to boost UK energy independence and tackle rising prices, also includes plans to increase nuclear, wind and solar production.

But experts have called for more focus on energy efficiency and improving home insulation.

UK plans to boost nuclear power in energy strategy The government said its commitment to more North Sea projects recognised “the importance of these fuels to the transition and to energy security”.

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

However, last month the government’s climate advisers said UK-produced gas would be sold internationally and would barely reduce the consumer price.

The report from the Climate Change Committee warned that new fossil fuel projects in the North Sea would, in some cases, not deliver gas until 2050.

Climate campaigners Friends of the Earth Scotland have previously called on the government to reject all new oil and gas projects.

Instead renewable energy should “rapidly scale up while supporting a just transition for those workers and communities currently reliant on the oil and gas industry”.

Scotland has a legally-binding target of reducing emissions to net-zero by 2045 .

‘Bolster domestic energy security” The strategy comes at a time when household energy bills are rising quickly.The Russian invasion of Ukraine has pushed up costs up even further.

Although Russian imports account for only 8% of UK oil and 5% of gas supplies, it is still affected by rising wholesale prices worldwide and household budgets have come under pressure.

Earlier on Wednesday the UK committed to ending all imports of Russian coal and oil by the end of the year, with gas to follow as soon as possible.

The UK government’s Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the plans would “turbocharge energy production” and the key to that would be accelerating the use of green technologies.

He added: “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.

“Scotland will play a key role in achieving our ambitious energy security strategy, and we will work with the Scottish government to maximise our domestic energy supply.”

The BBC has approached the Scottish government for comment on the strategy.

Although most aspects of energy policy are reserved to the UK Parliament, planning is a devolved matter and therefore the Scottish ministers have the power to approve or reject new projects north of the border.

Image source, Getty Images Image caption, Torness is currently Scotland’s only operational nuclear power station The UK government hopes to accelerate the use of nuclear power, with up to eight more nuclear reactors across the UK proposed in the strategy.

Ministers hope up to 24GW will come from this source by 2050 – representing around 25% of the UK’s projected electricity demand.

A new government body, Great British Nuclear, will be set up to bring forward new projects and a £120m Future Nuclear Enabling Fund will be set up this month.

The Scottish government has previously voiced its opposition to the construction of new nuclear facilities , saying they would be expensive to build and take years to come online.

The Hunterston B nuclear plant in North Ayrshire was shut down in January, while the station at Torness in East Lothian is due to close in 2028 – two years earlier than originally planned.

The clash of science and politics on North Sea oil Cambo oil field plans granted licence extension Energy firms warn of oil and gas dependency For offshore wind, the government said its new target will be to generate up to 50GW by 2030, more than enough to power every home in the UK.

For onshore wind, the strategy only commits to consulting on developing partnerships with “a limited number of supportive communities” who wish to host wind turbines in return for lower energy bills.

Targets for hydrogen production are also being doubled, with an ambition of increasing capacity to up to 10GW by 2030.

The UK government’s Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said that maximising North Sea production, while scaling up cheap renewables and new nuclear, was the “best and only way to ensure energy independence” in the coming years.

He said: “We have seen record high gas prices around the world.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.”

More on this story The clash of science and politics on North Sea oil

8 February Energy firms warn of oil and gas dependency

29 March Cambo oil field plans granted licence extension

7 days ago Call for rethink of new nuclear plants in Scotland

21 March Related Topics Wind power Energy industry North Sea oil and gas Climate change Nuclear power Renewable energy.

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