The Government has been accused of “huge, misguided cuts” to clean energy after it announced reductions of almost two-thirds to subsidies for solar panels on homes. The move, which ministers say is necessary to curb rising costs of green energy on consumer bills, comes just days after the UK backed the world’s first universal agreement to avoid dangerous climate change by bringing down greenhouse gas emissions. Reductions in payments under the “feed-in tariff” scheme for energy generated by new small-scale renewables are not as severe as originally proposed in the summer, when ministers floated an 87% cut for domestic solar electricity compared with current levels.
Government attempts to improve the energy efficiency of poor households to a decent standard will not hit target until the year 2130, Labour has claimed. Ministers have to ensure as many households in fuel poverty - regarded as being unable to afford to be adequately heated due to low incomes and high energy costs - as “reasonably practicable” meet the band C energy efficiency standard by 2030. But shadow energy minister Clive Lewis warned just 70,000 houses were improved between 2010 and 2013, leaving hundreds of thousands of people still to benefit from changes which will lower their energy bills.
Britons face longer commutes, more expensive energy bills and soaring housing costs because of the failure by successive governments to modernise the UK’s creaking infrastructure, George Osborne has admitted. The Chancellor will use next month’s Autumn Statement to set out plans to sell off billions of pounds’ worth of public assets to help fund major projects and will commit to invest £100 billion in infrastructure by 2020. Mr Osborne formally launched the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), under the chairmanship of former Labour cabinet minister Lord Adonis, which he said would “hold our feet to the fire” with regards to progress on major projects.
The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has completed the first stage of the UK Government’s £20million seismic campaign. The industry regulator said 20,000km of high-quality data had been acquired in under explored areas of the UKCS. The programme was completed by Schlumberger company, WesternGeco,on October 11th with almost 20,000km of new 2D seismic lines acquired over an area of 200,000km.
Offshore wind schemes could be built without subsidies in a decade with clear support from the UK Government, the head of Europe’s biggest renewables company has said. The most recent awards of clean power subsidies saw guaranteed payments for offshore wind of £114 to £120 for each megawatt hour of electricity generated, more than double the wholesale electricity price and much more expensive than onshore wind farms.
The UK Government made a loss from North Sea oil and gas in the first six months of this year, according to reports. According to The Herald, the revenues were more than cancelled out by repayments to producers between the months of April and September. While a total of £248million was collected from the industry in both corporation tax and petroleum revenue tax (PRT) around£287million was handed out in rebates following the downturn.
Cuts in Government support for renewable energy send a “perverse signal” to other countries about the UK’s attitude on the issue, the head of the UN environment programme has said. As other countries embrace renewable energy Britain looks to be going the other way, Professor Jacqueline McGlade said. Recent moves by the Government to cut support for clean onshore wind and solar power send out the wrong message, she said, ahead of the UN climate change conference which begins in Paris at the end of next month.
Libya is forming a national unity government after months of difficult talks between the country’s two rival administrations. The north African country’s United Nations envoy Bernardino Leon said candidates for the new government had been decided. The announcement, made in Morocco, is a step towards stitching together the oil-rich but chaotic country that fell apart after the overthrow of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country has been split between an Islamist-backed government based in Tripoli and an internationally-recognised administration in the east.
Oil prices will rise again by 2018 and reinvigorate economic activity in the North Sea, according to a billionaire Scottish Government adviser. Jim McColl, who sits on the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisers, told Holyrood’s Economy Committee his own Clyde Blowers’ engineering investment firm is “holding out quite well” in the economically-depressed North Sea and he predicted the downturn will reverse in the next two years. Increased oil and gas production contributed to the 0.7% rise in the UK economy announced yesterday but this has yet to feed through to the Scottish onshore economy, leaving Scotland’s GDP lagging behind at just 0.1% growth.
A decision by the Norwegian minority government to start making withdrawals from the country’s sovereign fund could mark a “radical change” for the region. Leading expert Professor Jon Kleppe, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, said the sovereign fund has risen from NOK 6300billion at the start of the year to NOK 7000billion. He said the increase was largely down to the weakening of the Norwegian Kroner next to the US dollar.
Findings from a trade body claim the UK Government plans to spend less on solar energy over the next three years than previously estimated. Fresh analysis from the Solar Trade Association said recent proposals by the government, published in response to the Fee-in Tariff review, would see a maximum of £7million of support spent on new solar deployment. Spending will fall from a current rate of less than £70million per year to £2million per year - a 98% cut in the total budget.
Inflation slipped back to zero last month as petrol price falls and muted rises for new fashion ranges kept a lid on the cost of living. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation fell from 0.1% in July. CPI has hovered around zero since February. It means the Bank of England continues to face little pressure to raise interest rates, though some officials think underlying inflationary pressure is building as the economy recovers. Inflation was pulled lower as the price of a litre of diesel fell by 6.2p and petrol by 2.4p, both more sharply than in the same period last year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Bristow plans to increase its cost saving measures from $95million to $150million as it looks to streamline its business further.
Fracking applications could be pushed ahead under what the government have described as a “swift process” for developing safe and suitable new sites. Earlier this week, it was reported that the Conservative government would move to fast-track applications, through a new dedicated planning process. Energy Minister Amber Rudd and Communities Secretary Greg Clark have today confirmed the plans which they say will ensure local people in England have a “strong say” over the development of shale exploration in their area.
The UK Government could fast-track applications for fracking as part of new plans to give shale gas a boost in the country. According to reports new guidance will be issued this week moving to strengthen the power of ministers to step in following decisions from local authorities. It is understood ministers have become frustrated at attempts to get the shale gas revolution off the ground.
I find it impossible to feel anything but raw anger towards the Westminster Conservative Government’s policy on renewables and energy policy in general. Here is a government stating on the one hand that the country has to support the “makers” and export more yet on the other effectively stamping out a globally important growth industry with huge potential. So far, Cameron & Co have scrapped or dramatically reduced support for onshore wind, solar, biomass, the Green Homes scheme, is selling the Green Investment Bank, has done away with the policy of building Zero Carbon Homes, reduced the incentive to move to lower emission vehicles and, of course, decided that the Climate Change Levy, which had been restricted to providers of non-renewable energy to businesses, will be imposed on renewable energy providers as well.
Clontarf Energy has agreed with the Ghanaian authorities to reapply for an exploration licence in the Tano Basin. The company will make the application through its subsidiary,Pan Andean Resources, for the asset offshore Ghana.
The North Sea oil industry is one of Scotland's great success stories. For decades it has sustained thousands of jobs, generated billions in tax revenue and acted as a platform for exporting the talent and expertise of this great nation around the world. But the industry is at a crossroads.
Unions and employers in the oil and gas industry are to meet to discuss the threat to jobs in the wake of the dramatic fall in oil prices. The move follows an announcement from BP of hundreds of job losses, sparking warnings of further cuts and calls for Government action. The firm said it expects to shed 200 onshore staff, while 100 contractors’ posts will also be axed, which unions said was a “devastating blow” to the industry.
At the outset, let me make the following clear: First, the UK offshore oil and gas industry faces some very serious challenges but it is NOT in danger of being wiped out. While the industry is certainly not enjoying the best of health right now, it can and will recover. Second, the troubles we face are not all down to the recent fall in the price of oil, that is a serious complication but it is not the root cause. Third, while I am certain that these problems can and will be overcome, the cure, if it is to be effective and lasting, requires urgent, positive and collaborative action by all stakeholders across Industry and Government over the coming weeks, months and years.
Oilex has been endorsed by the Indian government for the sales from the Bhandut-3 well in the Bhundut field. The company said the backing was a "critical milestone" for the field's production. The project will now gather the appropriate production facilities including a compressed natural gas (CNG) loading facility that will enable "bullet" trucks to be loaded for transportation on site.
Norway unveiled plans to spend a record amount of its oil revenue to cover budget needs as the government said it will explore ways to cap future expenditure.