OEUK concerned at Labour’s North Sea plan

Jan. 20, 2023
Britain’s opposition Labour Party plans to put an end to new offshore oil and gas field developments in UK waters.

Offshore staff

LONDON – According to a Reuters report, Britain’s opposition Labour Party plans to put an end to new offshore oil and gas field developments in UK waters.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Keir Starmer stated there would be no new UK oil and gas fields under a Labour government. Opinion polls suggest Labour is on course for a landslide victory in the UK’s next general election.

Industry association Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) responded that “policymakers should choose their words carefully,” adding that many of its 400 members are leading the UK’s transition to greener energy systems.

Jenny Stanning, OEUK’s external relations director, said, “Keir Starmer’s suggestion… that there should be no further investment in North Sea oil and gas will be deeply upsetting to the many workers and communities dedicated to providing the UK with energy. It will also further damage investor confidence.

“Those communities, whether in the northeast of Scotland or England’s energy coast, from Norfolk to the Scottish borders, have been central to the UK’s energy security for five decades, and especially in the last year’s energy crisis.”

“We all know that the UK must transition to low carbon energies as fast as possible. Our industry has pledged to work with the UK’s governments to reach net zero by 2050. But in the three decades till then we will need gas and oil.”

Britain’s Office for Budget Responsibility, she added, has estimated the cost of the transition at £1.4 trillion ($1.3 trillion) by 2050, with £1 trillion ($1.24 trillion) of that delivered by private investorsmany of them OEUK members.

“They are already building the offshore wind farms, the CO2 capture and storage systems, and the hydrogen production facilities that will power our country in future. Labour has acknowledged that it can only deliver this in partnership with business, and our members stand ready to work together to achieve this…

"Policymakers need to remember that words have consequences. Only this week we heard that another major North Sea operator [Harbour Energy] is winding down UK investment.

“This damage must stop and that means we need to find a compromisea pathway we can all agree on, and which is practical for the country. We will be actively seeking those discussions.”