The British on- and off-shore oil and gas industries united to welcomed the announcement that onshore exploration licences for 27 blocks, which are all in England, will be granted soon.
UKOOG, the representative body for UK onshore oil and gas, has welcome the announcement made by the Oil and Gas Authority creating 93 new onshore hydrocarbon licences across 159 blocks in England.
This adds to the existing 137 licences across 360 blocks from the previous 13 licencing rounds – and which include licences held around Grangemouth in the Central Belt by INEOS.
Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UKOOG, said: “This is a vital day for the future of energy in the UK.
“At the beginning of this century, we were energy independent producing enough oil and gas from the North Sea to provide for everyone in the UK. Today we are dependent for nearly 50% of our oil and gas from overseas and that is going to rise to over 75% in the next 15 years without further onshore production.
“This announcement is about delivering a balanced energy mix in our country as we move to a lower carbon economy. We need to ensure that the 84% of our homes that use gas for heating can continue to do so and that the 30% of electricity produced by gas can be met using UK sources.
“We need to help meet the goals of the Government to eliminate coal from the system and ensure that we can also use gas and oil from our own country to produce products that are so vital to our everyday lives, like clothing, medicines, cosmetics and computers.
“We should also remember that the chemicals industry produce vital materials for our solar and wind industries, all from natural gas and oil. As has been demonstrated in other countries, renewables and gas have a vital role to play alongside each other.
“The COP 21 Summit in Paris has set some very welcome but demanding challenges on climate change. Meeting these targets will require a balance of a number of different technologies, in particular home-grown affordable and reliable sources of gas and oil in order to transition to a progressively lower carbon economy.
“Our industry has been under the most intense regulatory, public and parliamentary scrutiny over the last few years. It is clear that we have an extremely robust regulatory system and an industry willing to work within that. It is also vital that we ensure that the local communities we work in, know what we are doing and why we are doing it and benefit from it too.”
At Oil & Gas UK – the Aberdeen-based trade association for the offshore sector – operations director Oonagh Werngren commented:
“Energy security must remain of paramount importance to the UK, and the natural gas we discover today, both onshore and offshore, will play a key role in powering our future economy.
“We welcome the news that 159 onshore blocks have been formally offered to successful applicants. We believe this progress is consistent with industry, regulator and government efforts towards maximising economic recovery of our indigenous resources – benefitting the entire country.
“As onshore activities expand, the opportunity for businesses in the UK’s world-class offshore oil and gas supply chain to diversify will also grow. We look forward to working with colleagues across the industry to develop and deliver the expertise the onshore industry will need to thrive.”
See also: Scottish Energy News 15 Dec 2015
‘Let’s get fracking!’ UK Shale Task Force green-lights gas on jobs, safety, environment and economic grounds