Grant Shapps, energy minister, has insisted that the government will “max out” the UK’s remaining reserves of North Sea oil and gas, arguing this is compatible with Britain’s pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“The figures are clear: the UK has 283 active oil and gasfields but 180 will shut down by 2030. If we don’t replace them with new ones, then production will decline much faster than we can build low-carbon replacements,” he said. “There is no simple choice between oil and gas on the one hand and renewables on the other. The reality is that to keep the lights on and grow our economy, we need both.”