Will the UK greenlight six new oil and gas fields in North Sea?

Ministers are reportedly pressed to fast-track licences for the development of these projects

Big Zero Report 2022

The government is allegedly planning to give the go-ahead to six new oil fields in the North Sea.

The Daily Telegraph reported that a Whitehall source said that the Business Secretary was pushing for more investment into the North Sea and is actively resisting ‘insane calls from Labour and the eco-lobby to turn off UK production’.

The same source added: “Doing so would trash energy security, kill off 200,000 jobs and we would only end up importing more from foreign countries with dubious records.”

The report said that drilling of oil and gas could begin in the Rosebank field, west of Shetland and at Jackdaw, Marigold, Brodick, Catcher and Tolmount East in the North Sea.

In November, after COP26, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I don’t think we can go and continue to give the go-ahead to new oil fields”.

Mrs Sturgeon also urged Boris Johnson to reconsider oil and gas licensing plans.

Shell pulled out of the proposed Cambo oil field development west of Shetland in December.

Last month, the government unveiled plans for a new climate compatibility checkpoint for the oil and gas industry.

A few days later, the Labour party called for a windfall tax on North Sea oil and gas producers to reduce the average household bill by £200.

A BEIS spokesperson told ELN: “There will continue to be ongoing demand for oil and gas over the coming years as we transition to cleaner, more secure forms of energy, generated in this country.

“As the Business Secretary has said, turning off our domestic source of gas overnight would put energy security, British jobs and industries at risk and we would be even more dependent on foreign imports.”

The OGA has declined to comment on individual applications.

If you enjoyed this story you can sign up to our weekly email for Energy Live News – and if you’re interested in hearing more about the journey to net zero by 2050, you can also sign up to the future Net Zero newsletter. 

Latest Podcast