To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to ban the issue new oil and gas exploration licences; and what impact assessment he has carried out on the potential merits of a ban on the issuance of new licences.
30 March 2021
The Department has conducted a review into the future of offshore oil and gas licensing, which has concluded that a new climate compatibility checkpoint will be introduced into the regime. This will help ensure that any future licenses are only awarded on the basis that they are aligned with the government’s broad climate change ambitions, including the UK’s target of reaching net zero by 2050. I refer the Hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement made by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 24th March 2021 (Official Report, HCWS879), announcing the implementation of a new checkpoint into the licensing round process.
As we move towards net-zero, oil and gas will play a smaller role in meeting UK energy demand. However, it will continue to play an important one. The independent Climate Change Committee has recognised the ongoing demand for oil and natural gas, including it in all scenarios it proposed for how the UK meets its target for achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
A climate compatibility checkpoint will allow for an orderly transition, underpinned by oil and gas, while the sector continues to bear down on its production emissions, and pivots to support the energy transition.