UK group disputes gloomy oil and gas study

Oil & Gas UK is disputing a university study which predicts early exhaustion of UK oil and gas reserves and which calls for a prompt switch to renewable energy.


“There are up to 20 billion bbl of oil and gas resources still to be recovered on the UK Continental Shelf, based on production forecasts provided by the Oil and Gas Authority,” said Oil & Gas UK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie in a statement.


The disputed study, by scientists at the University of Edinburgh, noted that the UK hydrocarbon discovery rate has lagged behind production since the late 1990s.


The research, published by the Edinburgh Geological Society, suggested UK oil and gas production might be in its last decade, according to a press release from the university.


Roy Thompson, a professor in the School of Geosciences, cited the findings as a reason to overhaul UK energy use. “The UK energy needs a bold energy transition plan instead of trusting to dwindling fossil fuel reserves and possible fracking,” he said. “We must act now and drive the necessary shift to a clean economy with integration between energy systems. There needs to be greater emphasis on renewables, energy storage, and improved insulation and energy efficiencies.”


Ms Michie countered by noting the government expects two thirds of the UK’s energy to come from oil and gas in 2035. She said UK production has increased during the past two years and is expected to keep rising.


“Nine new fields began production in 2016, and a further seven started producing in the first half of this year, most of which will still be producing in 2030,” she said. “A further 12 are due on-stream by the end of next year. Some notably large developments will still be producing towards 2050. Advances in technologies are also presenting fresh opportunities and helping make discoveries commercially viable.”