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UK ‘must become irresistible place to do energy business’

Private sector investment worth up to £100 billion is needed to deliver key projects to safeguard UK energy security, according to the offshore energies industry.

Offshore Energies UK’s 2023 Economic Report said the sum is also needed to install all the renewable infrastructure required to get the UK to net zero by 2050.

The report sets out the actions the trade association argues policymakers must take in partnership with business to achieve this level of investment and tackle the energy challenges facing the nation and its households.

It says total offshore energy spend could reach £200 billion this decade in oil and gas, offshore wind, carbon capture and storage and low carbon hydrogen.

But it adds that about half of this amount – £100 billion – is waiting on final investment decisions from businesses that need renewed certainty to sign off.

OEUK argues concerted policy support, a stable and globally competitive tax regime and improved planning and regulatory timelines are “critical” to unlocking these funds.

The body is calling for pragmatic policy across all political parties ahead of the next general election to safeguard energy security and the homegrown jobs and supply chains needed to build a low carbon future in the UK.

David Whitehouse, chief executive of Offshore Energies UK, said: “Parliaments may thrive on opposition and argument, but we know big engineering projects only succeed through collaboration.

“The transition to net zero will be the biggest engineering project this country has ever seen. We need consensus to support the very industries and workers whose skills are vital for building our energy future.

“In recent months we have felt the direct impact of underinvestment in homegrown energy on job security for our workers, the competitiveness of our firms internationally and our future energy bills.

“Our report shows that with the right frameworks in place, this industry can make the long-term investments to help the UK tackle these challenges head-on.

“The UK mustn’t just become a good place to do energy business, it must become irresistible.

“Our Economic Report shows that as the global race for energy investment accelerates, the UK must compete by making the most of its diverse homegrown industry, from oil and gas to offshore wind, hydrogen and carbon capture.

“Globally, this is the lesson other countries have learnt. We must not get left behind.”

Scottish Government minister for energy Gillian Martin MSP said: “OEUK’s Economic Report 2023 underlines the vital importance of our energy sector.

“As Scotland transitions to a net zero economy, we must simultaneously focus on meeting our energy security needs, reducing emissions and – critically – ensuring a just transition for our oil and gas workforce as North Sea resources decline.

“The Scottish Government is wholly focused on unleashing the economic and energy potential of Scotland’s renewables sector while investing £500 million in a Just Transition Fund for Aberdeen and the North East to ensure that we fully capitalise on the enormous benefits our energy transition offers.”