UK tells North Sea to maximize production, reinvest

UK government business minister Kwasi Kwarteng has written to the North Sea oil and gas industry asking it to set out a clear plan to maximise domestic oil and gas production, reinvest its profits into UK energy projects and double down on investments in the clean energy transition.

He said that in return for the UK government’s ongoing support for the sector, it wants to see “a very clear plan from the oil and gas industry to reinvest profits in the North Sea and, importantly, in the clean energy technologies of the future.”

Kwarteng said that in coming weeks, the UK government wants the North Sea industry to set out “how you will reinvest profits, double down on investments in the clean energy transition and importantly accelerate and maximise” domestic oil and gas production.

The business minister said the UK government “will not bend to the will of activists who naively want us to extinguish production in the UK Continental Shelf – doing so would put energy security and British jobs at risk, and simply increases foreign imports, whilst not reducing demand.”

Kwarteng wrote: “The North Sea has provided the UK with a stable domestic supply of oil and gas for the last 50 years and it has a bright future.

“This great national asset has had the dual purpose of securing supply and insulating the UK from developing a dependency on Russian hydrocarbons.

“It has also generated substantial tax revenue to the tune of £375 billion to fund for our vital public services.

“As the Prime Minister and I set out in the Energy Security Strategy, domestic production is now more important than ever, recognising that there will be an ongoing demand for oil and gas over the coming decades as we smooth the transition to cheap, clean, home-grown energy.

“That is why we took steps to remove obstacles to accelerate production and confirmed that the NSTA plans to launch another North Sea licensing round in the autumn, taking into account the forthcoming climate compatibility checkpoint and the need for domestic energy security.

“I want to also be clear that we will not bend to the will of activists who naively want us to extinguish production in the UK Continental Shelf – doing so would put energy security and British jobs at risk, and simply increases foreign imports, whilst not reducing demand.

“Scaling up, accelerating and investing in home grown energy production will support us in continuing to grow the British economy, create good jobs across the country, and crucially bring down consumer bills in the long term.

“In return for the UK Government’s ongoing support for the sector, the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and I want to see a very clear plan from the oil and gas industry to reinvest profits in the North Sea and, importantly, in the clean energy technologies of the future.

“At our next meeting in coming weeks, I would like you to set out how you will reinvest profits, double down on investments in the clean energy transition and importantly accelerate and maximise domestic oil and gas production.

“We need to collectively show the British people how the success of our offshore oil and gas sector has a direct and enduring benefit to the British economy and people’s jobs and livelihoods in order to protect the North Sea as a major UK en-ergy asset for decades to come.

“I look forward to our discussion, and to continuing to work with you as we make the North Sea transition a truly British success story.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.