LONDON — Britain has reduced its dependence on imported gas, according to industry association Offshore Energies UK (OEUK).
New figures from the government show domestic gas production in the first half of 2022 was 26% higher than for the corresponding period in 2021.
The government has been looking to strengthen the UK’s energy security by improving the availability of reliable domestic supplies of energy after cutting its energy links with Russia.
In July, gas accounted for 44% of the UK’s electricity generation, OEUK added. But the association warned that the higher domestic production can only be sustained with continued investment in oil and gas reserves.
The 3.5 Bcm added to UK gas supplies came partly from the startup of new fields earlier this year in the southern North Sea, such as Harbour’s Tolmount and IOG’s Saturn Banks project. But there was also a reduction in planned shutdown activity due to the extent of work completed in 2021, with companies focused on plant uptime to maximize energy supply.
OEUK added that the current energy supply crisis demonstrates the challenges countries face if oil and gas production declines more rapidly than demand, pointing out that renewable electricity generation and hydrogen are not yet available at the scale required.
Mike Tholen, OEUK sustainability director, said, "UK gas producers have already ramped up domestic supplies by 26% in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. The massive increase in our support for the UK’s gas needs can only be sustained by substantial ongoing investment from gas producer companies.
"If we are to continue our efforts to protect UK gas supplies, which remains the backbone of our energy mix for electricity, heating and industrial processes, we need politicians of all parties to support energy produced here in the UK with all the benefits that brings for taxes, energy security and jobs.”
One company responding to the situation in Britain is Neptune Energy, which has started drilling a 10th production well at the Cygnus gas field in the southern North Sea.
The company added that it has also been working to step up gas production from the Gjøa complex in the Norwegian North Sea, which is exported via the FLAGS pipeline to the St. Fergus gas terminal in northeast Scotland.
Borr Drilling’s Prospector 1 jackup is drilling the Cygnus well.