The Government of UK has announced that it would review its policy on the future offshore oil and gas (O&G) licensing rule.
The review is aimed at ensuring that oil and gas production is aligned with tackling climate change and delivering net-zero emissions by 2050.
The government made the announcement soon after the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) revealed 32nd offshore licensing round on 3 September.
OGA noted that the round offered blocks in mature, producing areas close to existing infrastructure.
The awarded areas are located in the northern, central, and southern North Sea, as well as in the west of Shetland region.
The licence areas were offered to 65 companies, including energy majors such as Shell, BP, Total, Eni, Chrysaor, EnQuest, Neptune and Equinor.
UK Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Over half of our electricity now comes from low-carbon sources, power from coal is at an all-time low, and we have more installed offshore wind capacity than any other country in the world.
“While we have decarbonised our economy faster than any other major country over the past two decades, the oil and gas sector will continue to be needed for the foreseeable future as we move toward net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“Our review into future oil and gas licensing rounds will ensure we are able to meet our net-zero target while protecting jobs across the country as part of our plan to build back better with a greener, cleaner economy.”
More than half of the electricity in the UK is generated from clean sources such as wind and solar energy.
However, oil and natural gas are still required and remain vital for heating, cooking and transport. They also play a key role in the production of everyday essentials such as medicines, plastics, household appliances and many more.
According to the UK Government, the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has recognised the current demand for oil and natural gas, including it in all scenarios it proposed for how the country achieves its zero emissions target by the year 2050.
In June 2019, OGA awarded 37 licence areas to 30 companies in the 31st Offshore Licensing Round.