Massive reductions in Russian oil supplies put a severe strain on the UK government’s ability to deliver energy and oil to its millions of constituents.
This spurred the government, led by newly elected Prime Minister Liz Truss, to urge corporations and organizations to apply for permits to drill in the North Sea. Essentially, the idea would assist the country in meeting the increased demand of Britons, particularly now that the Holiday season has kicked off.
According to a statement, the government would give at least 100 new drilling contracts. While it appears to be a potential antidote to international supply cuts, the drilling activities will not produce oil for the country for several years.
This means the UK will be heavily dependent on energy imports in the next years. Eventually, the prospect of price increases, supply constraints, and blackouts will grow.
Cold weather, gas shortages, and supply cuts will cause house blackouts for at least three hours daily. The UK National Grid announced numerous actions to reduce the likelihood of outages.
In the worst-case situation, the grid will reboot coal-fired power facilities to fulfill the UK’s energy requirements.
The National Grid will begin giving financial help to consumers who cut their power use beginning next month.
The impact of the climate crisis
The impacts of the government-initiated project will not be obvious right away. Oil supply and demand in the UK will not improve, and the government may face a reaction from environmental groups.
Drilling in the North Sea would face legal challenges from campaigners and other concerned parties, but the UK government is keen to do so if only to meet the country’s demand for oil and energy.
Greenpeace has previously said that the act is unlawful. As a result, court cases may be in the cards.
“New oil and gas licenses won’t lower energy bills for struggling families this winter or any winter soon nor provide energy security in the medium term,” said Philip Evans from Greenpeace UK.
“New licenses — and more importantly, more fossil fuels — solve neither of those problems but will make the climate crisis even worse.”
More time is needed
The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) indicated that finding oil drilling locations and gas resources would take time.
For example, finding gas resources beneath the water will take an average of five years. However, the NSTA underscores that the time frame had been lowered due to new technological methods.
The NSTA also said they would first explore the southern section of the North Sea, where gas resources had previously been located. Gas is most likely present in the surrounding environment.
Furthermore, the organization is doing a climate compatibility assessment to verify that the program aligns with the UK’s aim of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Photo Credit: Andy Buchanan