New Poll: MPs in denial about North Sea decline

A new poll from YouGov for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit has shown that some MPs are unaware of the decline of the North Sea basin.

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By George Smeeton

Information on this page correct as of:

When presented with the North Sea Oil and Gas Transition Authority’s (NSTA) projections that the volume of gas available for extraction annually in the UK will fall by 85% by 2040, meaning 90% of gas would need to be imported if demand stayed at current levels, more than two thirds (71%) of MPs thought the UK should increase investment in renewable energy infrastructure in response.

Just 2% of MPs thought the UK should therefore import more oil and gas from overseas. Just over half (55%) of Conservative MPs thought renewable investment was the right response, but a quarter of the party’s MPs (25%) said they did not accept the NSTA’s projections.

The NSTA is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. Its remit is to license, regulate and influence the UK oil and gas, offshore hydrogen and carbon storage industries.

Alasdair Johnstone from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said: “The North Sea Oil and Gas Transition Authority has been clear that the North Sea basin is in decline, even with new licences to drill . The fact that many MPs don’t seem to accept their projections raises questions over about the seriousness with which the UK’s energy security is being taken Put simply, unless we reduce the amount of gas we use as a country by building more renewables, insulating homes and switching to electric heat pumps, we will become increasingly dependent on foreign gas imports, but progress on all three measures has been slow.”

Notes to editors:

1. Polling conducted by YouGov of 109 UK Members of Parliament between 5th – 31st October 2023.

2. North Sea Oil and Gas Transition Authority: Production Projections (Feb 2023 and Sep 2023):

For more information or for interview requests:

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