Comment on annual oil and gas licences bill

Jess Ralston is available for further comment and interview.

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By George Smeeton

Information on this page correct as of:

Commenting on the news that a bill to be announced in this week’s King's Speech will see licences for oil and gas projects in the North Sea awarded annually [1], Jess Ralston, Head of Energy at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said:

"Awarding oil and gas licenses annually is at best a distraction on energy security. Even if all new licenses are approved, gas production from the North Sea is still going to fall by 95% [2] so it won't help to bring down our gas bills. Inevitable decline in gas from the North Sea means that until we wind down using it for heating and electricity generation, we are going to have to import more from abroad.

“The fact is that most of what's left in the North Sea is oil, which we export the vast majority of to be refined and then import back at market prices - so it doesn't help to lower bills.

“The question is, is this about delivering energy security, or playing politics? If the Government really wanted to deliver energy independence it would be focussing on reducing our gas demand by building out more renewables, insulating homes and installing electric heat pumps. But it recently failed to secure any more offshore wind in the last auction round, scrapped insulation regulations in the private rented sector and we're way behind the rest of Europe on phasing out gas boilers."

Notes to editors:

1. Annual oil and gas licences planned with net zero commitment required:


    For more information or for interview requests:

    George Smeeton, Head of Communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email: