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The UK’s North Sea produced 26 percent more natural gas in the first half of this year than it did this time last year as the UK tries to wean itself off of Russian natural gas.
The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the UK produced 3.5 billion cubic meters more gas in H1, with much of the increase attributed to new gas fields in the North Sea (Harbour’s Tolmount and IOG’s Saturn Banks), and fewer shutdowns due to planned maintenance.
The decrease in shutdown activity was made possible in part by the flurry of maintenance it completed in the year prior, and was of course aided by the need for more uptime to meet the current market needs.
One of the results of that increased gas production was that for the first time ever, the UK did not import any fuels—no oil, no gas, no coal--from Russia in June, ONS said. About 5% of the UK’s gas imports were met by Russia prior to Russia’s invasion of the UK, while natural gas accounted for 44% of the UK’s total electricity generation in July, heating 85% of all UK homes.
But the UK’s increased gas production is threatened by a new UK worker’s union, Unite. The union started a ballot for 300 United Kingdom Drilling Contractors Association offshore drilling and contract maintenance workers, Rigzone reported on Wednesday. The ballot opened on Monday, and will close on September 27.
At issue are wages.
“UKDCA drill crews have had no meaningful pay increase for several years despite the consistently high price of oil and gas, and record operator profits. Our members have their union’s full support in fighting for better jobs, pay, and conditions offshore,” Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said.
The UK is trying to increase its energy security amid a global supply crisis.
Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), representing the UK Offshore energy industry, said that the increase in production seen over the last six months could only be maintained through continued investments in oil and gas reserves.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.