Discussion: North Sea oil drilling

News came out recently that government ministers will allow oil drillers to keep exploring the North Sea for new reserves. While this contradicts the government’s aims to cut carbon emissions, a ‘climate compatibility’ test will be used to make sure each application is ‘compatible with the UK’s climate change objectives.’

The government and North Sea oil and gas industry will invest up to £16bn to create 40,000 jobs, on the condition that the industry will cut its carbon emissions by 50% by the end of the 2020s.

The ‘climate compatibility checkpoint’ will weigh up the North Sea’s projected production levels, availability of clean energy, and the sector’s progress in cutting emissions.

The business and energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, claimed that the North Sea deal is a sign that the UK will be a ‘nation of clean energy’, while not leaving oil and gas workers behind in the shift away from fossil fuels. Mel Evans of Greenpeace UK has described the North Sea deal as a ‘colossal failure’.

Instead of following Denmark and France in agreeing to ban new oil exploration licences, Greenpeace has claimed that this deal is a way to ‘prop up’ the sector, rather than investing in restraining and reskilling workers in renewable green jobs.

We’d love to hear what you think of the new North Sea deal. Do you believe the UK government needs to commit more wholeheartedly to divesting from fossil fuels? Could the deal be a step in the right direction, or is more urgent action required?

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