Inspenet, November 1, 2023.
The UK government granted 27 licenses for oil and gas development in the central and northern North Sea , as well as west of Shetland. These are part of the 33rd Oil and Gas Licensing Round, which began in October 2022 and covers 931 concession areas.
The secretary of energy security highlighted that this measure represents a welcome economic stimulus . However, activist groups concerned about climate change expressed their intention to challenge the decision in court.
In addition to the 27 licenses granted, six additional blocks, which were ready to be offered, were merged into five pre-existing licenses.
In total, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) received 115 applications from 76 companies for 258 blocks or block fragments before the application period closed on January 12, 2023. This figure represents the highest participation since the introduction of Innovative Licensing in the 29th Round in 2016/17.
In recent years, there has been an average of approximately five years between obtaining a license and starting production.
In this context, the Secretary of Energy Security, Claire Coutinho, stated: “These new licenses are a welcome boost for UK industry, which already supports around 200,000 jobs and contributes £16 billion to the economy each year, as we advance our transition to low-carbon technologies, such as What depends on our future and prosperity“
Not everyone supports oil and gas exploitation
Philip Evans, climate campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “Greenpeace plans to fight these licenses in court, and we are mobilizing voters to prioritize climate in the next election, because, frankly, we are all fed up with these policies.” retrograde . “
For its part, the Scottish Green Party said the move showed a ” disregard for future generations .”
Likewise, Mark Ruskell MSP said: “In the last few months alone we have seen record temperatures, bushfires and terrible flooding in communities across Scotland. There is no sustainable future in endless oil and gas extraction.“
” We urgently need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and make urgent and lasting investment in green jobs and industries that are so vital to tackling the climate crisis .”
Offshore Energies UK said there were 284 active oil and gas fields in the North Sea and by 2030 around 180 of them will have stopped producing due to natural decline.
It should be noted that approximately half of the 27 licenses give permission to begin the development of known reserves and the rest are for exploration. All of them are close to existing production platforms, so bringing them into production requires much less time and money than a completely new field.
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