Annual oil and gas licences planned with net zero commitment
Government plans call for the award of licences for oil and gas projects in the North Sea every year.
Currently, there is no fixed period between licensing rounds, but this will change under Tuesday’s King’s Speech.
As part of the policy, projects would have to meet net zero targets, and the ministers claimed that energy security would be ensured.
In the event that it wins the next election, Labour will honor existing licences but will not allow any new ones to be granted.
According to a spokesperson for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, the new policy will apply to offshore production licenses.
Independent regulator North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) evaluates exploration applications for oil and gas fields.
Offshore Energies UK reports that just under 300 oil and gas fields are active in the North Sea. By 2030, however, more than half of them will no longer be producing.
The current licensing round was launched in October last year, with the first 27 licenses granted earlier this month.
However, even if the UK meets its 2050 goal of net zero carbon emissions, oil and gas will still be needed to meet energy needs.
Additionally, importing energy from abroad creates more emissions overall, and also makes the UK dependent on “hostile foreign regimes” such as Russia for its energy supply.
The King’s Speech, in which the monarch sets out the government’s lawmaking plans for the year, will include a new law requiring an annual licensing process.
In order for a licensing round to take place, the UK would have to import more oil and gas than it produces domestically.