Updated: Feb 9
There is nothing like an impending cost of living crisis to concentrate minds when it comes to Net Zero. Faced with astronomical gas price rises in April the screeching sound of policy gears being rammed into reverse can be heard all over Whitehall.
The Telegraph's Tony Diver and Ben Riley-Smith report on another potential U-turn as the government gives the green light to oil and gas companies to begin constructing rigs in the North Sea once again - 07.02.22
"Despite calls for all domestic fossil fuel extraction to be halted, ministers have pledged to continue to support oil and gas production while renewable energy sources are developed.
Drilling of oil and gas could begin in the Rosebank field, to the west of Shetland, and at the Jackdaw, Marigold, Brodick and Catcher sites in the central North Sea. A sixth site, Tolmount East, had been intended to be approved by the Oil and Gas Authority last year but is now expected in 2022.
The combined reserves of all six sites are thought to be enough to power the whole UK for six months, with 62 million tonnes of oil equivalent fuel in the ground.
A Whitehall source told The Telegraph: “The Business Secretary is pushing for more investment into the North Sea while we transition – not just for jobs and tax revenue, but for domestic energy security.
“Kwasi is actively resisting insane calls from Labour and the eco-lobby to turn off UK production. Doing so would trash energy security, kill off 200,000 jobs, and we would only end up importing more from foreign countries with dubious records.
“Over the long term, we need to generate more secure, affordable, low carbon power in the UK to achieve greater energy independence. The more clean power we generate in the UK, the less exposed consumers will be to gas prices set by international markets.”
If we take ministers at their word, many will greet this announcement as a welcome and long-overdue change of policy in relation to energy transition.
We enclose the full article here with a link to the original. We also enclose Philip Johnston's article on the political dimension to the announcement as an addendum beneath it.