The UK government said on Monday it will grant more than 100 new oil and gas licences in the North Sea as part of efforts to focus on domestic supplies and become more energy independent.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the move was compliant with the government’s environmental targets.
Sunak said the new licences would reduce reliance on hostile states, boost jobs in the sector and reduce the carbon footprint when compared with an alternative option of importing liquified natural gas.
About 25% of the UK’s energy demand is expected to still be met by oil and gas when the UK reaches net zero in 2050.
The UK government also announced plans to set up two new carbon capture usage and storage clusters in Scotland and northern England.
It confirmed that projects Acorn in North East Scotland and Viking in the Humber have been chosen as the third and fourth carbon capture usage and storage clusters in the UK.
“As the UK is a rapidly declining producer of oil and gas, new oil and gas licences reduce the fall in UK supply in order to ensure vital energy security, rather than increase it above current levels – so that the UK remains on track to meet net zero by 2050,” the government said.
The UK government said the oil and gas industry regulator expects the first of the new licences to be awarded in the autumn.