• Thu. May 30th, 2024

UK Government grants 27 new North Sea oil and gas licences

ByRainsey Barnard

Nov 10, 2023
An oil rig on the sea

The UK Government has granted 27 new North Sea oil and gas licences.

Environmental groups have criticised the decision, highlighting the detrimental impacts on the environment.

Philip Evans, a campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “voters want a government that’s not afraid to take on the climate crisis.” 

The move comes as Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party has softened its stance on environmental regulations to appeal to voters amidst a cost of living crisis. 

Read more: Scottish Government declare ‘no support’ for coal mining

Recently, a ban on selling new petrol and diesel-engined cars was pushed from 2030 to 2035. 

The Conservative Party hopes its support for the offshore oil and gas energy industries will strengthen its power base in North-east Scotland, which relies heavily on these industries for employment. The UK government highlighted that their decision would reduce dependence on foreign fossil fuels as the UK moved towards Net Zero.

Read more: Rishi Sunak rolls back on climate commitments

They argue consuming foreign fuels comes at a cost of £117 billion. 

By extracting fossil fuels in Britain, energy costs would become lower for consumers, reducing inflation. 

Rising costs of foreign energy have followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Offshore Energies UK Chief Executive David Whitehouse hailed the granting of new licences as a “boost for UK energy security”. 

Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho added the UK needed to “be pragmatic” and not “lose 200,000 jobs” in an industry which contributes £16 billion to the economy.

The Labour Party have indicated that they do not plan to revoke the licences if they win the next general election, which is expected to be held next year. 

More on Scottish Government: SNP backs Yousaf’s independence strategy at party conference

Image: “North Sea Oil Rig” by Tips For Travellers is licensed under CC BY 2.0.