UK Energy Minister Grant Shapps says the British government intends to extract one-hundred percent of its North Sea oil and gas reserves and still achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, while the Labour Party has vowed to refrain from issuing any further exploration and production licenses if elected by January 2025.
According to Shapps, higher carbon emissions would result from reliance on foreign imports of oil and gas if the North Sea is abandoned. The energy minister has referred to the Labour Party’s stance against North Sea oil and gas as “madness”, criticizing the policy for making the UK vulnerable to the weaponization of energy, as it has been to Russia.
Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has stood firm on no new North Sea licenses, while Labour energy secretary Ed Miliband has warned that Shapp’s strategy would fail to improve UK energy security as well as reverse climate commitments.
In contrast, Labour leader Keir Starmer has pledged that his party will not grant any new North Sea licenses if they win the next general election. However, they would not revoke existing contracts. Shapps criticized this policy as “madness” and advocated for granting licenses for all viable oil and gas fields as long as they align with the net zero goals.
In 2021, the UK imported the bulk of its crude oil and natural gas liquids from Norway, taking in 13 million metric tons of crude oil and 1.7 million metric tons of natural gas liquids. Imports from the United States (~11 million tons combined) were the second largest in volume, followed by Russia, according to Statistica.com.
In 2021, UK imports of natural gas, oil and coal from Russia total 4.5 billion pounds (~$5.7 billion), falling to 1.3 billion pounds in the year to January 2023.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com