Oil and gas met 73% of UK’s energy needs last year, says report

Oil & Gas UK said that 39 oil wells have so far been drilled in 2021.

Oil and gas met 73% of UK’s energy needs last year, says report iStock

Oil and gas met around 73% of the UK’s energy needs in 2020, it has been estimated.

In their annual economic report, Oil & Gas UK (OGUK), a trade association for the industry, said that through to 2050, half of all UK cumulative energy demand will be met by oil and gas.

The report outlined that £21bn is to be invested in the UKCS (United Kingdom Continental Shelf), which includes parts of the the North Sea, over the next five years, with £3.7bn having been invested last year.

The trade association said industry activity is estimated to support almost 200,000 jobs in 2021 across every region in the Uk.

It also stated that 39 wells have been drilled so far in 2021, with an average price for a barrel of oil at £48.52.

OGUK reported that energy consumption in 2020 was at its lowest levels since the 1950s as the restrictions to manage the coronavirus pandemic “significantly reduced” activity across the economy.

The North Sea Transition deal, the OGUK said, will accelerate the energy transition, reduce UK emissions and create new jobs across the UK.

Last month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to reassess oil and gas plans due to the “severity of the climate emergency”.

It included the Cambo development off Shetland, which environmental campaigners have called to be halted.

“Climate change is an inherently global issue and can only be addressed through co-ordinated international effort and working with others,” the SNP leader wrote.

“Cop26 in Glasgow therefore represents the world’s best chance – perhaps our last chance – to avert the worst impacts of climate change.”

She added: “I am also asking that the UK Government agrees to reassess licenses already issued but where field development has not yet commenced. This would include the proposed Cambo development.

“Such licenses – some of them issued many years ago – should be reassessed in light of the severity of the climate emergency we now face, and against a robust Compatibility Checkpoint that is fully aligned with our climate targets and ambitions.

“The Scottish Government would be happy to engage further about exactly what this process should involve to ensure that it is credible and commands confidence.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The UK is the only G7 country to have agreed a landmark deal to support the oil and gas industry’s transition to green energy by 2050 while at the same time supporting 40,000 jobs.  

“Even though demand for fossil fuels is falling and we continue to break records on our use of renewable energy, the advice of the independent Climate Change Committee is that we will continue to need oil and gas in the coming years as it is still vital to the production of many everyday essentials like medicines.

“We have already ended support for fossil fuels overseas, and are already designing a climate compatibility checkpoint which will ensure any future licenses will only be granted if they are aligned with the UK’s climate change objectives.”

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