The UK government has shared its long-delayed Energy Security Strategy, and it provides the signal North Sea investors needed. The UK Continental Shelf can once again be an attractive investment destination.
Unveiling the strategy was a major, much-needed step. Now, the positive signals it provides must be followed by action. And quickly.
Neptune Energy supports the new strategy. It can help attract investors back to the North Sea and to this sector overall. It’s important, not only for oil and gas investment, but to generate the returns that need to be recycled for newer energy technologies and projects.
Successive governments have fluffed their lines for years on energy policy, contributing to our current energy insecurity and amplifying the UK’s reliance on expensive, imported energy. The tragic conflict in Ukraine and the impacts on gas supplies to Europe further underline the need for the UK to have greater independence in meeting its energy demands.
But with its new strategy, the Government has acknowledged the core part to play for oil and gas in supporting energy security, and helping meet demand as we transition to net zero. So long as that supportive message stays consistent, investors can be confident about returning to the UK.
The ball is now in North Sea companies’ court. The Government is heeding calls for the stable, reliable fiscal and regulatory regime necessary to unlock investment. It’s over to E&P companies to deliver additional production and back the UK Government’s strategy with their own investment.
For Neptune’s part, we’re planning additional infill wells at the Cygnus field in the Southern North Sea to help maintain vital supplies of lower carbon gas. We’re also looking to increase production from our Duva development in Norway which comes into the St Fergus gas terminal near Peterhead – that alone would be enough to heat around 350,000 UK homes.
The urgent need for secure supplies of gas must not slow delivery of and investment in lower carbon energy projects, and we are continuing to accelerate the development of CCS and hydrogen production in line with our own strategic ambition to store more carbon than is emitted by our operations and from the gas and oil we sell, by 2030.
For the first time in a very long time, there is a clear path forward to deliver a more resilient UK energy system. But we have to maintain that momentum with concrete action from industry, government and regulators.
There is no time to waste.