The North Sea has provided the UK with a stable domestic supply of oil and gas for the last 50 years and it has a bright future. This great national asset has had the dual purpose of securing supply and insulating the UK from developing a dependency on Russian hydrocarbons. It has also generated substantial tax revenue to the tune of £375 billion to fund for our vital public services.
As the Prime Minister and I set out in the Energy Security Strategy, domestic production is now more important than ever, recognising that there will be an ongoing demand for oil and gas over the coming decades as we smooth the transition to cheap, clean, home-grown energy. That is why we took steps to remove obstacles to accelerate production and confirmed that the NSTA plans to launch another North Sea licensing round in the autumn, taking into account the forthcoming climate compatibility checkpoint and the need for domestic energy security. I want to also be clear that we will not bend to the will of activists who naively want us to extinguish production in the UK Continental Shelf – doing so would put energy security and British jobs at risk, and simply increases foreign imports, whilst not reducing demand.
Scaling up, accelerating and investing in home-grown energy production will support us in continuing to grow the British economy, create good jobs across the country, and crucially bring down consumer bills in the long-term.
In return for the UK Government’s ongoing support for the sector, the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and I want to see a very clear plan from the oil and gas industry to reinvest profits in the North Sea and, importantly, in the clean energy technologies of the future. At our next meeting in coming weeks, I would like you to set out how you will reinvest profits, double down on investments in the clean energy transition and importantly accelerate and maximise domestic oil and gas
We need to collectively show the British people how the success of our offshore oil and gas sector has a direct and enduring benefit to the British economy and people’s jobs and livelihoods in order to protect the North Sea as a major UK energy asset for decades to come.
I look forward to our discussion, and to continuing to work with you as we make the North Sea transition a truly British success story.