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The Scottish government and environmental organizations have voiced opposition to plans for dishing out more than 100 North Sea oil and gas drilling licenses reportedly put forward by Liz Truss, the Conservative politician vying to be the UK’s next prime minister.
Truss is one of the two Tories, alongside Rishi Sunak, still in the race to become the UK’s new prime minister to succeed Boris Johnson. The winner is expected to be announced on September 5.
If Truss wins the race, she is expected to issue as many as 130 new licenses for drilling for oil and gas in the North Sea, The Times reported on Tuesday.
Responding to the report, the UK’s leading offshore industry body, OEUK, said yesterday that “the UK and Europe must now think carefully about prioritising reliable and responsible energy producers to deliver cleaner, secure energy.”
“New oil and gas licenses and investment here means the UK and Europe is less likely to have to scramble for international supplies or return to using other fossil fuels, with all the implications that would have for cost, emissions, and national security,” OEUK Sustainability Director Mike Tholen said.
Scotland’s government, however, opposes the drilling frenzy, despite the fact that Scotland is at the heart of the UK offshore oil and gas industry.
Drilling new oil and gas fields would not be “a timely solution to the current energy price crisis, nor our energy security needs,” a spokesman for the Scottish government told The Times.
“Even once operational, the extracted fossil fuels will still be affected by the same global market forces which have contributed to the current crisis,” the spokesman added.
Scotland prefers to ramp up renewable energy sources, especially offshore wind, to replace more fossil fuels in the country’s energy mix.
Commenting on the plans for more drilling, Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK Chief Scientist, said: “This doesn't help energy security. It does help fossil fuel companies.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.