UK Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho said on Wednesday that Britain's North Sea oil and natural gas production will be halved by 2030. This would leave the UK vulnerable to external forces if the Labour Party were to gain power and ban new offshore drilling.
Coutinho claimed that the UK will be forced to import as much as 80% of their oil and gas in 2030, making it a'subordinate to foreign regimes.'
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"We are decimating the very people and communities we need on our green transition journey"
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Coutinho, speaking at the annual Energy UK Conference, cited data from the North Sea Transition Authority indicating that offshore UK oil wells fell by 83 wells in 2022. There are currently 1,629 wells compared to 2,052 wells in 2019.
The Energy Secretary, citing NSTA data as evidence, claimed that UK production would reach a new low of 38 millions tonnes in 2022 and fall to 22million tonnes by 2030, without any additional drilling.
Coutinho stated that the energy gap will require an increase in exports.
If it wins the next election, the UK's Labour Government has promised to stop all new offshore drilling to achieve its 2050 climate targets.
Rishi Sunak, the Conservative Prime Minister, in late September, gave up on his net-zero emissions target, citing energy needs. He then greenlit Equinor’s North Sea Rosebank Field, one of UK's largest new oil and gas developments.
Sunak is trying to make sure that the Conservative Party can achieve its net-zero emissions target by reversing it.
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After a narrow victory against the Labour Party at July's by-elections.
It is difficult to navigate this political terrain. Coutinho is a Sunak-loyalist and conservative, and is also a member the Conservative Environment Network.