North Sea can provide ‘secure, safe energy for next 50 years'

Deidre Michie, chief executive of Offshore Energies UK, has called for a national consensus around energy issues.

Offshore Energies UK say North Sea can provide the UK with energy for the next 50 years iStock

The North Sea can help provide the UK with “secure, safe energy” for the next 50 years while also helping meet climate change targets, the head of a key industry body has insisted.

Deidre Michie, chief executive of Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), spoke out as she made a plea to ministers ahead of the publication of the UK Government’s upcoming energy security strategy.

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine means energy security is now also a national security issue, she said.

Ms Michie, whose organisation represents 400 offshore energy companies including in the oil, gas and offshore wind sectors, called for a “national consensus” to be built around energy issues.

She stated: “Our industry has provided the UK with secure, safe energy for the last five decades and we can do the same for another five decades – while also helping the nation reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

“This will only happen with careful planning, preparation and investment. Energy infrastructure projects take years or even decades, and our industry is used to thinking on those timescales.

“We believe that, where energy is concerned, policymakers of all parties and countries must start doing the same.”

OEUK wants government regulators to prioritise decisions on new oil and gas fields, but also says the UK should work with other European nations to co-operate on energy supplies.

To help achieve the UK’s goal of reaching net zero by 2050, Ms Michie said legislation should be introduced to expand the production of hydrogen and also to increase carbon capture facilities.

Work is also needed to electrify both the North Sea and the Irish Sea, OEUK said, calling for grids of undersea electrical cables to be installed to take power from offshore wind farms to towns and cities across the UK.

Ms Michie said: “Our short-term energy security and our longer-term need for secure, net zero energy will only happen if our policymakers can collectively create the right environment for long-term investment across all forms of energy production.

“To achieve that we need stable, long-term regulatory policies, clear and predictable fiscal policies, that are supported by political alignment across all the countries and parties of the UK.

“We need our policymakers and politicians to think long-term, act short-term and, above all, work together for the whole UK.”

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