North Sea gas and oil licences

Robert Largan’s reply to Jeremy Wight’s letter about Rosebank 

Dear Jeremy,

Thank you for contacting me about oil and gas licenses.

I apologise for the delay in responding to you. I receive a very large volume of correspondence and I prioritise the most urgent cases involving vulnerable individuals. Consequently, it has taken longer than I would have wanted to get back to you.

Protecting the environment is an issue close to my heart. In my very first question in Parliament after being elected, I called for the Government to strengthen our environmental protections. I have actively campaigned for the restoration of our local peat moors and was proud to have secured a significant increase in funding for this.

I have also rebelled against the government on multiple occasions on environmental issues, including on the issue of fracking, which I oppose.

It is important to consider the new oil and gas licenses in the current context of global energy supplies being disrupted and weaponised by the likes of Putin, causing household bills to soar and economic growth to slow around the world.

It is essential that the UK has energy independence and security. Although renewables are likely to provide the majority of the UK’s carbon-free power by 2050, both wind and solar are intermittent energy sources. Due to this, reliable power sources are also needed to achieve a reliable baseline for our energy system.

The UK, like most major economies, is currently dependent on oil and gas and will continue to use it for decades to come as part of our the energy system baseline. We currently get 75 per cent of our energy from oil and gas, and according to the Committee on Climate Change, oil and gas will still provide more than half of our energy needs in 2035, and 24 per cent of our energy needs even in a net zero 2050.

To help move away from depending on oil and gas as much for our energy baseline, the Government has launched a new Energy Security Strategy, which will see a significant acceleration of nuclear power, with an ambition of up to 24GW by 2050. This would represent up to around 25 per cent of the UK’s projected electricity demand. Subject to technology readiness, Small Modular Reactors will form a key part of the nuclear project pipeline, which could deliver up to eight reactors, equivalent to one reactor a year instead of one a decade. The Government are working hard to fix the mistakes of the last 25 years, where Labour and Lib Dem Energy Secretaries failed to commission new nuclear power stations.

Regarding net zero, the Government remains firmly committed to its target. The UK was the first major economy to legislate to achieve net zero by 2050 and we are decarbonising faster than any G20 country.

However, oil and gas will be required in the transition to net zero, as simply turning off the taps would mean we would have to import oil and gas, leaving us susceptible to global circumstances. According to the North Sea Transition Authority, imported gas has a carbon footprint which is three times that of domestically produced gas, so it is significantly better for the environment is we produce it locally instead.

The Government is therefore boosting our energy security by committing to hundreds of new oil and gas field licences in the North Sea, making sure we are not reliant on expensive, foreign imports. It is also investing in Carbon Capture and Storage, delivering on our net zero ambitions while creating 25,000 jobs and driving £10 billion of investment.

This will cut bills, cut emissions, and cut our dependence on foreign imports, safeguarding our long-term energy security, supporting families with the cost of living, and delivering on the Prime Minister’s pledge to grow the economy.

Should you have any further enquires on any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am here to help.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Largan MP
Member of Parliament for High Peak
18 Market Street, Whaley Bridge, High Peak, SK23 7LP
t. 01663 769779      e.     twitter: @robertlargan

Jeremy Wight’s letter to Robert Largan MP

Dear Robert,

We are devastated to hear that the North Sea Transition Authority, with Government backing, has approved the exploitation of the Rosebank oil field.  At a time when the climate emergency is accelerating, and the UN, International Energy Agency and our own Climate Change Committee are all calling for a moratorium on new oil and gas developments, it is perverse to be approving a development with the potential for 500 million barrels of oil, which when burnt will release hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
The argument that oil from the field will be extracted at a lower carbon cost per barrel than elsewhere is specious, since it is the burning of the oil, not the carbon cost of extraction, that is so damaging to our ecosystems and our future.  The development will add significantly to global emissions at a time when we must urgently reduce them.  It will have no impact on the price paid domestically for fuel, since that is determined by the global market.  And the argument that it is necessary for ‘energy security’ is undermined by the fact that the oil will be sold on global markets (it is not of the type refined in the UK), not safeguarded for domestic use.
Indeed, a far better way to secure energy security, because cheaper and not exacerbating the crisis, would be a massive expansion of domestic solar and wind power (both on and off shore).
I am confident that I am accurately reflecting the views of the one thousand supporters of Hope Valley Climate Action in deploring this decision.  It hardly counts as a ‘long-term decision for a brighter future’.  Please do all you can to get it reversed.

share the news