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Despite its efforts to boost renewable energy generation at the expense of fossil fuels, the UK is facing a higher natural gas import dependency in the coming years as local production declines.
The Financial Times reported it had conducted an analysis on the UK's energy needs that showed that its dependence on imported gas will deepen from about 50 percent at the moment to as much as 70 percent by 2030.
A decade later, in 2040, the UK will be importing 80 percent of the natural gas it consumes, and by 2050, domestic production will only account for a modest 15 percent.
The UK is among the most ambitious countries in the energy transition effort, not least because of substantial pressure on decision-makers from environmentalist organizations. New oil and gas drilling in the North Sea, as well as onshore, has been a priority for environmentalists, and it is bearing fruit.
The current government, however, recently decided to approve new drilling despite the opposition. According to energy minister Greg Hands, "Flicking a switch and turning off our domestic source of gas overnight would put energy security, British jobs and industries at risk and we would be even more dependent on foreign imports," the FT wrote.
The UK government is set to approve drilling at six new oil and gas fields in the North Sea, which prompted environmentalists to accuse Downing Street of "torpedoing climate action" and "disregarding science," The Independent reported earlier this week.
Last week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that more drilling in the North Sea would support more jobs for Britons and that "We have resources in the North Sea, and we want to encourage investment in that because we're going to need natural gas as part of our transition to getting to net zero," as quoted by The Independent.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.