The government must encourage greater oil and gas exploration if the UK is to keep the lights on in the face of increasingly severe winters, an energy expert has warned.
Bob Ruddiman, head of energy at legal firm McGrigors, said more must be done to minimise Britain’s dependence on North African, Middle Eastern, Russian and Scandinavian countries for our energy requirements.
He said: “Potential fuel shortages in the UK bring into sharp focus the historic failure of our government to provide greater incentives or, more accurately, the inability to remove disincentives, to allow the full exploitation of reserves in the North Sea.
“The price of a barrel of oil has reached a sufficiently high point and remained relatively stable over several months, so operators are better able to plan and finance to take the risks associated with exploration and development. However more could and should be done to encourage greater investment in the UK reserves.”
Mr Ruddiman said: “Countries like Norway offer significant tax breaks where wells turn out to be dry, while we levy significant taxes on those who actually find oil.
“Oil and gas is an absolutely key component. If the UK wants to avoid becoming too dependent on the likes of Russia and Scandinavia for a critical component of its energy mix, this is a point which really needs to be urgently addressed.
“We have proven oil and gas reserves which it is in the national interest to exploit.”