We want the Government to stop all new oil and gas developments, including the planned Rosebank Field Development.
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We are in a climate crisis that has already begun. We cannot risk approving and enabling the development of new oil fields, if we as a human species want to survive.
The short term profits from oil development are not justifiable or ethical. The Government must block all future oil and gas field developments. There is no point striving for short term profits, when there is no planet left to spend it on.
Friday 25th August 2023
The UK decarbonised more than any other G7 country between 1990 and 2021, but oil and gas are essential resources that still supply around three quarters of the UK’s overall energy use today.
The Powering Up Britain plans set an ambitious pathway for the UK to move to clean, cheap power and lead the world in moving to net zero by 2050. The Government’s aim is to accelerate the reduction in oil and gas use, but we recognise that they are and will, for many years to come, remain essential for modern life including in the production of cement, steel, plastics, chemicals and fertiliser.
Even in 2050, when we have reached net zero, it is estimated that the UK may still be using a quarter of the gas we do now. While any remaining fossil fuel combustion will be fully abated by technologies like Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage, we will still need sources of oil and gas.
Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has reminded us all of the importance of a secure and resilient energy system, and the real dangers of being too dependent on others for our energy supply. We want to avoid an increased reliance on foreign oil and gas imports as we move to net zero. We are already a net importer and are spending billions importing gas which new licences could help to unlock domestically from the declining North Sea basin.
As a net importer of oil and gas and a rapidly-declining producer, new oil and gas licences simply reduce the fall in the UK supply – they do not increase it above current levels and will not increase emissions above our legally binding carbon budgets. Even with continued exploration and development, oil and gas production is expected to decline by 7% a year. This decline is faster than the average global decline needed to align with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 1.5°C pathways.
Domestic production brings significant economic and industrial benefits, and failure to maximise economic output from the North Sea is likely to lead to increased Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports which are less secure, more carbon intensive and provide no tax revenue and little benefit for the UK’s economy, workers, and supply chains. North Sea Transition Authority analysis shows that domestic production of gas is on average almost four times cleaner than the process of producing and importing gas in LNG form. The production of gas in the UK Continental Shelf has an average emission intensity of 21 kgCO2e/boe; whereas imported LNG has a significantly higher average production and transportation intensity of 79 kgCO2e/boe.
Reducing oil and gas supply before countries have put in place alternatives to these essential resources could have negative impacts. In 2022 the independent Climate Change Committee stated that “Abrupt constraint of global oil and gas extraction, before demand has adjusted, would imply global shortages, with resulting price spikes and risks to energy security. The current global gas crisis demonstrates the sort of problems this could lead to – increased coal consumption as a cheaper substitute for gas and escalating consumer bills that in turn could divert attention from climate action.”
Continued private investment in the offshore sector goes beyond the pursuit of short-term profits. Domestic oil and gas production adds about £17bn to the UK economy annually. The sector currently supports around 200,000 jobs, including those within the sector, its supply chain, and the wider economy, and is expected to pay around £50bn in tax over the next five years. Ernst and Young found the UK domestic upstream supply chain had a turnover of £27bn in 2019. This valuable offshore sector not only provides expert jobs, contribution to public finances and export revenues, but is also a key facet of the energy transition. The offshore oil and gas supply chain and its skilled workforce are exactly what we need to deliver the energy transition. We need and want these companies in the UK, where we can reap the benefits of their expertise and investment as we lead the world in delivering the energy transition.
Continued oil and gas investment supports energy security whilst also being compatible with our ambitious Net Zero targets. It also supports the economy and jobs, including the skilled workforce and complex supply chain to deliver sub-sea carbon storage, offshore wind deployment, and other technologies that are vital to the transition.
The UK is fully committed to our climate commitments and has one of the most ambitious 2030 targets in the world, as well as being the first major economy to legislate for net zero. As we rapidly transition our own energy systems, we are supporting emerging economies to do the same and advocating the phase out of coal power and an end to unabated fossil fuel use.
Department for Energy Security and Net Zero