Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill: January 2024

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about oil licenses.

As we have seen over the last year, global energy supplies have been disrupted and weaponised by the likes of Vladimir Putin, causing household bills to soar and economic growth to slow around the world.

It is therefore essential that the UK has energy independence and security, and the Government is determined to safeguard our energy supply and power up Britain from Britain. As such, the Government is not only backing our oil and gas sector, but also investing in renewable energy and carbon capture.

The UK, like most major economies, is highly dependent on oil and gas and will be for decades to come. 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.

The Government remains firmly committed to its net zero target. However, oil and gas will be required in the transition to net zero, simply turning off the taps would mean we would have to import oil and gas, leaving us susceptible to global circumstances. Further, importing oil and gas harm our ambition to reach net zero. According to the North Sea Transition Authority, imported gas has a carbon footprint which is three times that of domestically produced gas.

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.

I therefore welcome that the Government is introducing legislation to support the future licensing of new oil and gas fields, helping the country transition to net zero by 2050 without adding undue burdens on households. The Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill will strengthen the country's energy security and reduce reliance on volatile international energy markets and hostile foreign regimes.

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. It is for these reasons and the ones laid out above that I intend to support the Government on the 22nd January.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.