Homegrown energy must be big part of the answer to national challenges

21/09/2023
Mike Tholen, OEUK's acting chief executive

THE UK offshore energy industry has reinforced the key role it can play to help the country boost jobs, grow the economy, cut emissions and provide energy security following a speech by the Prime Minister from Downing Street on Wednesday. 

While much of the focus remains on consumer measures, the leading representative body for the sector, Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), said an enduring consensus is needed across parties if it is to unlock £200bn of company investment in oil, gas, wind, hydrogen and carbon capture over the next decade.

OEUK’s recent Economic Report found that with the right support the UK sector could:

  • Commit up to £80bn of offshore wind investment, of which OEUK members are helping to develop 13 GW of the offshore wind pipeline capacity by 2030. These projects alone require almost £30bn of private investment
  • OEUK members are also developing the UK’s first wave of carbon capture and hydrogen cluster projects – with a possible spend of up to £20bn
  • OEUK has sight of around £35bn of potential oil and gas capital investment over the next 10 years, of which about half will go on projects in existing fields and half on new fields. This is part of wider oil and gas expenditure that could be £90bn through to 2030.

To unlock these funds, OEUK has identified concerted policy support, a stable and globally competitive tax regime and improved planning and regulatory timelines as critical. The report details the key moves necessary across all areas of the energy mix to make the UK globally competitive.

OEUK is calling for pragmatic policy across all political parties ahead of the next General Election to safeguard energy security and the homegrown jobs and supply chains needed to build the low carbon future here in the UK.

Mike Tholen, OEUK sustainability and policy director, said: “Today we heard the Prime Minister confirm his commitment to net zero. In recent months we have felt the direct impact of underinvestment in homegrown energy on job security for our workers, the competitiveness of our firms internationally, and our future energy bills.

“We know this sector can and must be a big part of the answer to the challenges the country faces on the cost of living, energy security, economic growth and tackling climate change.

“The Prime Minister is right that we need to take people with us and that includes the 200,000 people working in this industry, as well as the industries and consumers which need an enduring consensus and collaboration if we are to continue  building  energy security as well as the  low carbon energy system in the UK, for the UK.

“With the right frameworks in place, this industry can make the long-term investments to help the UK tackle these challenges head-on. “The UK mustn’t just become a good place to do energy business, it must become irresistible. Our Economic Report shows that as the global race for energy investment accelerates, the UK must compete by making the most of its diverse homegrown industry, from oil and gas to offshore wind, hydrogen and carbon capture. Globally, this is the lesson other countries have learnt.”

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