LONDON – The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) claims that the UK could experience steep rises in gas imports over the next decade, linked to declining production from fields in the UK North Sea.
In response, industry association Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) said that while Britain’s gas and oil production was in long-term decline, the North Sea and surrounding waters still contained sufficient gas and oil—an estimated 15 Bboe—to cover much of the UK’s needs over the next three decades.
Its recent Business Outlook report stated that the UK produced about 500 MMboe last year, enough to meet 44% of the UK’s gas consumption and 67% of demand for oil and related products.
Mike Tholen, OEUK’s director of sustainability, said, “Last year UK consumers saw the bill for energy imports more than double, from £54 billion [$67.5 billion] in 2021 to £117 billion [$146 billion] in 2022. The Ukraine conflict also threatened Europe with energy shortages, but the UK’s North Sea supplies gave us energy security and the chance to support our European neighbors.
“The UK has 24 million homes heated by gas boilers, gets 42% of its power from gas fired power stations and has 32 million petrol and diesel vehicles. Overall, the UK gets about 76% of its energy just from oil and gas.
“We need to move to lower carbon energy, but the scale of the change means it will take years. There is no simple choice between oil and gas and renewables—for the foreseeable future we will need both.”
For this reason, he added, Britain must keep investing in exploring and developing new and existing fields in our own waters. “We know that oil and gas production from UK waters will decline—but if we continue to explore responsibly, then we can slow that decline right down.”