The UK government presented the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill to Parliament with the aim of enhancing the country’s economy, ensuring energy security, and facilitating the transition to a net-zero future. Under this legislation, there will be annual rounds of oil and gas licencing, with a focus on rigorous emissions and imports assessments.
The oil and gas sector is a significant contributor to the UK’s economic landscape, sustaining approximately 200,000 jobs and injecting £16 billion into the economy each year. Moreover, fossil fuel producers are anticipated to contribute around £50bn in taxes over the next five years.
Beyond its economic contributions, the sector is actively contributing to the UK’s pursuit of the net-zero target by leveraging existing supply chains, expertise, and crucial skills. These assets play a pivotal role in advancing low-carbon industries like tidal power, offshore wind, and carbon capture and storage.
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero Claire Coutinho said: “The UK has cut its emissions faster than any of its peers. But as the independent Climate Change Committee acknowledges we will need oil and gas even after we reach net zero in 2050.
“As energy markets become more unstable it’s just common sense to make the most of our own homegrown advantages and use the oil, gas, wind and hydrogen on our doorstep in the North Sea. Rather than importing dirtier fuels from abroad, we want to give industry the certainty to invest in jobs here and unlock billions of pounds for our own transition to clean energy.”