MOSCOW, 3 Oct — PRIME. The UK will expedite the issuance of licenses to develop new gas fields in the North Sea, the Financial Times reported on Monday, citing North Sea Authority (NSTA) head Andy Samuel.
“In these unusual times, the security of (energy) supply is a concern… (The regulator will do) everything possible to support domestic production,” Samuel told the publication.
According to him, licenses for the development of new gas fields in the southern North Sea will be given priority, and the NSTA will expedite the acceptance and processing of applications for their issuance, the newspaper said.
However, Samuel noted that the issuance of licenses in the near future will not be able to significantly reduce the UK’s dependence on energy imports from other countries. Gas production at some fields, which will be opened after the issuance of licenses, will be actively conducted only in a year or a year and a half. In addition, the North Sea Basin is an old and well-explored field, so a significant increase in gas production is unlikely.
At present, North Sea gas production can only meet about 40% of the UK’s needs, and the NSTA predicts that figure will fall to 30% by 2030, writes the Financial Times.
Earlier, the UK government lifted the moratorium on shale gas production and confirmed its intention to issue more than 100 licenses for gas and oil production in the North Sea to overcome the energy crisis in the country.
The UK government introduced a fracking ban in November 2019 due to the risk of seismic activity. Fracking is a method of extracting energy resources, including shale gas, by hydraulic fracturing.