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UK approves new North Sea projects

The UK government recently gave the go ahead to drill more North Sea wells, which it says will safeguard the industry and the thousands of jobs related to it.

Environmentalists have called into question the wisdom of further exploration, claiming that sufficient fossil fuels have been discovered already. The Government, however, says the new license are compatible with its commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions. It plans to implement a strategy based on what it calls “checkpoints”. These will consider the domestic requirements for hydrocarbons in the UK, expected levels of production, and the introduction of cleaner technologies like offshore wind energy.

It will also take into account the sector’s reductions in emissions, with it being obliged to cut them by 10%, 25%, and 50% by 2025, 2027, and 2030, respectively.

BP, the maker of the Castrol lubricant range, has previously said it remains open to the possibility of further North Sea exploration despite planning to reduce oil production by 40% by 2030 as part of its transition towards renewable energy.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK Energy Secretary, said the Government was clearly signalling that the UK will be a clean-energy nation, adding:

“We will not leave oil and gas workers behind in the irreversible shift away from fossil fuels. We will power the green industrial revolution, turning its focus to the next-generation clean technologies the UK needs to support a green economy.”

A senior campaigner for Greenpeace, Mel Evans, criticised the decision, however, describing it as a “colossal failure.”

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