The UK has cut its dependence on imported gas. New figures show domestic gas production in the first half of 2022 was 26% higher than the same period in 2021, which is enough to heat almost 3.5 million UK homes for a year.
The news comes as the UK government looks to increase the UK’s energy security by improving the availability of reliable domestic supplies of energy. The global energy supply crisis, driven in part by the removal of Russian supplies of oil and gas, has subsequently driven up costs as countries across the world compete to meet energy demand.
The UK has broken all energy links with Russia, with a recent House of Commons briefing confirming that in June 2022, the UK imported no oil, gas or coal from Russia. Gas is currently the backbone of the UK’s energy mix, meeting 44% of the country’s electricity generation in July and heating 85% of homes as well as fuelling other industrial processes producing materials and goods.
Offshore Energies UK, the leading representative body for the UK offshore energy industry, which includes oil, gas, hydrogen and wind producers and its supply chain companies, today said this increase in domestic production can only be sustained with continued investment in oil and gas reserves.
The additional 3.5 billion cubic metres added to UK gas supplies from UK production in the first half of the year has been driven by a range of factors, including the start-up of new fields in the southern North Sea, including Harbour’s Tolmount field and IOG’s Saturn Banks project. There has also been much less planned shutdown activity due to the extent of work completed in 2021 and as companies focus on plant uptime to maximise energy supply.
These new figures mean around half of the UK’s gas needs in recent months have been met with home-produced resources, increasing the availability of reliable domestic supplies and reducing the need to buy in even more gas from other countries through either pipelines or Liquified Natural Gas which is piped and shipped from countries across the world including Norway, the US and Qatar.
OEUK today warned the rapid reduction in UK supplies of gas would increase consumer costs further as it would decrease availability of international supplies and ramp up prices. It added that the current energy supply crisis demonstrates the challenges countries face if oil and gas production declines more rapidly than demand, with renewable electricity generation and alternative domestic heating sources such as hydrogen not yet available at the scale needed.
Commenting, OEUK Sustainability Director Mike Tholen said:
“While we don’t know what winter will bring for the UK this year, we know that it is coming and, we must be prepared for the worst and hope for the best to support UK energy security.
“UK gas producers have already ramped up domestic supplies by 26% in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. The massive increase in our support for the UK’s gas needs can only be sustained by substantial ongoing investment from gas producer companies.
“If we are to continue our efforts to protect UK gas supplies, which remains the backbone of our energy mix for electricity, heating and industrial processes, we need politicians of all parties to support energy produced here in the UK with all the benefits that brings for taxes, energy security and jobs. It’s all the more important at a time when we can’t afford to tighten supplies even further, which is what will naturally happen if domestic production of gas isn’t maintained.”
Notes to editors:
1. Data is sourced from UK Energy Trends Table 4.2 and JODI Monthly Gas Statistics (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/gas-section-4-energy-trends) and is gas that is brought to market from UKCS production. This means that the use of gas offshore for power and heat generation is subtracted from the total production.
2. In the first half of 2022 the UKCS supplied 16.831 billion cubic metres of gas to the UK market, compared to 13.351 billion cubic metres of gas in the first half of 2021.