Starmer’s call for ‘no more investment in oil and gas’ – OEUK Response

[Reuters has reported Keir Starmer’s announcement that there would be no new UK oil and gas fields under a Labour government. The Labour leader was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos.]
Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), which represents the UK’s offshore industry, covering gas, oil, offshore wind and emerging low-carbon technologies such as hydrogen production and CO2 capture and storage, said policymakers should choose their words carefully. Many of its 400 members are leading the UK’s transition to greener energy systems.
Jenny Stanning, Offshore Energies UK’s external relations director, said: “Keir Starmer’s suggestion today, at Davos, that there should be no further investment in North Sea oil and gas will be deeply upsetting to the many workers and communities dedicated to providing the UK with energy. It will also further damage investor confidence.
“Those communities, whether in the northeast of Scotland, or England’s energy coast, from Norfolk to the Scottish borders, have been central to the UK’s energy security for five decades – and especially in the last year’s energy crisis.”
“We all know that the UK must transition to low carbon energies as fast as possible. Our industry has pledged to work with the UK’s governments to reach net zero by 2050. But, in the three decades till then we will need gas and oil.
“About 24 million homes (85% of the total) rely on gas boilers for heat and we get 42% of our electricity from gas. We also have 32 million vehicles running on petrol and diesel. So, we need gas and oil.
“The companies providing those fuels are the same companies that are investing in the transition. The Office for Budget Responsibility has costed the transition at £1.4 trillion by 2050 with £1 trillion of that coming from private investors – many of them our members.
“They are already building the offshore wind farms, the CO2 capture and storage systems and the hydrogen production facilities that will power our country in future. Labour has acknowledged that it can only deliver this in partnership with business and our members stand ready to work together to achieve this.
“We have an obligation to warn all policymakers that, if you undermine those companies now, and send the sector’s 200,000 skilled workers into other industries, you will damage both the nation’s current energy security and our hopes of a rapid transition to low-carbon energies.
“So policymakers need to remember that words have consequences. Only this week we heard that another major North Sea operatory is winding down UK investment. This damage must stop and that means we need to find a compromise – a pathway we can all agree on, and which is practical for the country. We will be actively seeking those discussions.”

Issued by OEUK Communications Team media@oeuk.org.uk
National Media Advisor Jonathan Leake jleake@oeuk.org.uk / 07538 552909
Fast Facts
The UK gets three-quarters of its total energy from oil and gas.
• 23 million (85%) of UK homes rely on gas boilers for heating
• 1.5 million more homes rely on heating oil
• 42% of the nation’s electricity comes from gas-fired power stations
• 32 million vehicles run on petrol or diesel
• Gas is still the UK’s largest energy source, supplying 43% of total UK energy last year.
• The UK consumed 76 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in 2021 – equivalent to 1,100 cubic metres per person.
• About 32bcm came from Norway and 29bcm were from the UK continental shelf
• Most of the rest was imported as liquefied natural gas from a mix of countries.
• Oil is the second largest UK energy source at 32% of total energy
• The UK’s production of oil and gas fell sharply in 2021.
1. Oil Production was 45m tonnes
2. Gas production was 29bn cubic metres of gas
3. These figures represented a 17% decline on 2020 and a 20% decline on 2019
• Imports surged in 2021 when the UK’s net imports were the equivalent of:
1. 62% of its gas
2. 18% of its oil
• Imports will keep rising. By 2030, without additional investment, the UK will have to import around 80% of its gas and 70% of its oil.
Offshore Energies UK is the leading trade body for the UK’s integrating offshore energies industry. Our membership includes over 400 organisations with an interest in offshore oil, gas, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and wind. From operators to the supply chain and across the lifecycle from production to decommissioning, they are safely providing cleaner fuel, power and products to the UK. Working together with our members, we are a driving force supporting the UK in ensuring security of energy supply while helping to meet its net zero ambitions. We work on behalf of the sector and our members to inform understanding with facts, evidence and data, engage on a range of key issues and support the broader value of this industry in a changing energy landscape.