In response to the news of an upcoming bill to announce the annual awarding of licences for oil and gas projects in the North Sea, experts expressed concerns about its implications for energy security.
Jess Ralston, Head of Energy at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) emphasised that the move towards annual licences may not address the core issue of declining gas production in the North Sea.
Ms Ralston said: “Awarding oil and gas licenses annually is at best a distraction on energy security. Even if all new licenses are approved, gas production from the North Sea is still going to fall by 95% so it won’t help to bring down our gas bills.
“Inevitable decline in gas from the North Sea means that until we wind down using it for heating and electricity generation, we are going to have to import more from abroad.
“The fact is that most of what’s left in the North Sea is oil, which we export the vast majority of to be refined and then import back at market prices – so it doesn’t help to lower bills.”