Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘A drilling frenzy’ – Environmentalists slam plans for new North Sea licensing round

© ShutterstockCCUS - carbon capture usage and storage.

Environmental groups have responded with fury to the UK Government’s plans to issue new oil and gas licenses.

They claim it will spark a “drilling frenzy” in the North Sea that will “unleash more heatwaves, droughts and storms on us all”.

Prime Minister Liz Truss has also been accused of “listening to the whisperings of oil and gas companies” in not expanding the current windfall tax.

Ms Truss set out her plans to protect households from spiralling energy bills on Thursday by announcing a price freeze.

She also signalled her wish to make the UK a net exporter of energy by 2040, and confirmed plans for a new North Sea licensing round to support that aim.

Oil giants will be ‘uncorking the bubbly’

But environmentalists say it will speed up climate change while doing nothing to lower energy bills, given it takes several years for new fields to come onstream.

Rosie Rogers, head of oil and gas for Greenpeace UK, said: “Millions of people will breathe a sigh of relief at being pulled back from the brink of fuel poverty, but it’s the fossil fuel giants that will be uncorking the bubbly.

“Liz Truss has decided to let the likes of Shell and BP enjoy the billions they’re making from the enormous suffering caused by the climate and energy crisis, leaving UK taxpayers to foot the bill.

Lord Browne bp
Protestors from the Stop Jackdaw campaign in Edinburgh. Queen Elizabeth House, Edinburgh. Supplied by Uplift Date; 13/04/2022

“If that wasn’t enough, she’s unleashing a drilling frenzy in the North Sea, and fracking in the countryside, which will do nothing to lower energy bills but will boost these companies’ profits and unleash more heatwaves, droughts and storms on us all.

“This approach will not create the energy future we need, with insulated homes and efficient heating powered by cheap renewable energy, but it may break the decarbonisation promises made to the public, on the back of which this government was elected.”

Likelihood of new gas is ‘slim’

A key objective of the new North Sea licensing round is to boost domestic supplies of gas in the long run.

Boosting energy security has been a key objective of governments wanting to stop imports of Russian gas following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

But Tessa Khan, director of Uplift, claims the UK has “already burned most of its gas” and that the majority of what remains in the North Sea is oil.

Tessa Khan

She said: “Whilst there is no doubt that many across the UK will feel relief at the energy prize freeze, the plan is an utterly wasted opportunity to fix the UK’s broken energy system. This is just an enormous sticking plaster.

“It feels like the new PM has spent the whole summer listening to the whisperings of oil and gas companies. This energy bill bailout is in fact a huge oil and gas subsidy. They are being allowed to keep all their profits on the vain promise that they will invest in UK future energy.

“First, the UK has already burned most of its gas. Most of what’s left is oil, which we export. No amount of ideologically-driven, political will can change the geology of the North Sea. Truss can issue as many new drilling licenses as she likes, but the likelihood of it leading to new gas production is slim.”

Harriet Lamb, chief executive of climate charity Ashden, described plans for new licenses as “totally disingenuous”, adding that they will open the floodgates for a high carbon future.

She said: “The crisis is caused by high oil and gas prices – drilling for more will not address that key problem. It will take years and will add to the climate crisis. Investing in renewables is quicker, cheaper and is the only solution to the climate emergency we are in.”

More from SG Voice

Latest Posts