The UK Government is planning to mandate oil and gas licensing on an annual basis to boost energy security.
With the new legislation, which will be announced in the week commencing 5 November 2023, the nation also hopes to reduce reliance on energy imports from “hostile foreign regimes such as Russia”.
As per the mandate, the NSTA will have to annually call for applications for new North Sea oil and gas production licences.
The nation aims to achieve net zero by 2050.
Most of the UK’s energy demands are still met by oil and gas, and data released by the Climate Change Committee indicates that this will be the case even after the country achieves net zero.
The UK believes that increasing domestic gas production will not only reduce vulnerability and diverse energy systems but will also provide lower carbon fuels while supporting the local economy.
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Each annual licensing round will be organised only after essential criteria supporting the shift to net zero are met.
The first requirement is that the UK’s projected imports of oil and gas must exceed its domestic production.
The other condition is that compared with imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), the carbon emissions linked to the production of gas in the UK are lower.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “I am proud that the UK is a world leader in reducing emissions and of our new plan to transition to net zero without adding undue burdens on households and securing the country’s long-term interest.
“Domestic energy will play a crucial role in the transition to net zero, supporting jobs and economic growth, while also protecting us from the volatility of international markets and diversifying our energy sources. The clarity and certainty that our new legislation will provide will help get the country on the right path for the future.”
Last month, the NSTA awarded 27 oil and gas exploration licences in the North Sea.