Written Answers from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero


To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent estimate he has made of the level of (a) oil and (b) gas production in the UK in the next two years. (160096)

Tabled on: 07 March 2023

Graham Stuart:

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero does not estimate levels of future UK oil and gas production. Projections are made by the North Sea Transition Authority and are published here: https://www.nstauthority.co.uk/data-centre/data-downloads-and-publications/production-projections/.

The answer was submitted on 15 Mar 2023 at 14:42.



This was an unhelpful answer showing a lack of interest in domestic oil and gas output. Surely the Energy Department charged with providing greater national security of energy supplies should be able and willing to inform people of the current energy situation and say something about how they intend to improve it.



  1. Mark B
    March 22, 2023

    Good morning.

    With respect, Sir John he did answer your question.

    Getting oil out of the North Sea, especially now, is both difficult and expensive. Only smaller more efficient companies are looking and, thanks to this governments wrongful attitude towards these companies, is driving away investment and therefore production.

    It is good though that you are asking these and other questions on other topics and I for one are very happy that you do and will continue to do so.

    Nice to see an MP and someone part of the Legislature doing his job.

    1. jerry
      March 22, 2023

      @Mark B; With respect, our host did not suggest there was no answer, our host said the answer was unhelpful, and indeed it was! If UK govt Ministries can republish data sourced non governmental bodies such as the UN’s IPCC, or the UK’s SMMT, it could also publish date from the NSTA – but of course that would mean putting the UK’s dismal performance on official record…

      What is it about some on the right and use of ‘targets’ to promote change or increased efficiencies/production, they love to impose such targets upon the State sector (often imposed in the most absurd ways, on reactive services such as police and the NHS), but then claim targets would have the very opposite effect if imposed on the private sector/investors. When a middle Eastern govt wants oil/gas production increased or decreased it happens!

      1. jerry
        March 22, 2023

        OT, I picked up on some of our hosts interview on Times Radio this morning, regarding the Windsor Agreement, one point Sir John, the 2016 referendum did not ask about removing EU Law, it asked about our membership of the EU. I’m sure just a slip of the tongue on our hosts part, I’m sure he did not intend to suggest we voted for something that was never asked.

        That said, I agree with the ERG’s assessment, in fact I believe they being somewhat charitable in their assessment!

        1. Mark
          March 22, 2023

          Being able to repeal unwanted EU laws and regulations was always a major motivation for Brexit. Probably the main one, in fact. Control over migration was another.

          1. jerry
            March 22, 2023

            @Mark; To you and the many Brexiteers who post to this site perhaps, but being able to repeal unwanted EU laws is a mere consequence of post referendum domestic politics. The electorate has never been asked directly how the UK should have left the EU, nor even what laws to repeal.

            That referendum, and its campaign, was a master stroke of ambiguous politics. Mrs May was quite correct when she said “Brexit means Brexit”, because Brexit was (and perhaps still is) simply a concept that means whatever the individual thinks it means!

          2. Mark
            March 23, 2023

            The UK electorate was never consulted on signing up to the EU under Maastricht or Lisbon either. Once out, parties have the freedom to propose law changes without being constrained by the EU – at lest to the extent that our withdrawal treaty permits. In that way, the elctoragte gets consulted.

          3. jerry
            March 23, 2023

            @Mark; You make my argument for me… Indeed it is for the elected govt to decide [1], unless they chose to put a specific question(s) to a referendum(s) – which is after all the reason why Mr Powell suggested people should vote Labour in Feb 1974. There has been no explicit referendum questions asked about repealing EU law, the people have NOT been consulted other than in the usual way via a multifaceted general election.

            [1] which is why Mrs May and her ill-judged 2017 general election could have been so disastrous, and not just for Brexit

          4. Mickey Taking
            March 23, 2023

            jerry does ‘taking back control’ mean nothing to you?

          5. jerry
            March 23, 2023

            @MT; Unlike you, yes I do, it is not claiming a mandate for something never asked.

            In any case, wasn’t all extent EU law transferred into UK law via the Great Repeal Bill, strictly speaking there is no EU law, and as with any wholly derived UK law Westminster can thus modify or repeal as and when necessary, there is no need for a sunset clause – we are in danger of throwing out necessary law just because it originated from Brussels; akin to cutting ones own nose off because the mirror originated from Brussels!

          6. Mark
            March 24, 2023

            We do not operate a Swiss system of referenda on every topic of legislation. That does not mean that there is no democratic input from the population on laws that are decided by Parliament rather than transposed from EU Directives. This site offers one example of that process, and there are formal government consultations that offer an opportunity to warn government of consequences of proposals that the civil service has failed to highlight.

            The difference is that we were obliged to implement EU Directives regardless of merit in the UK context, whereas we are free to decide our own law except where governed by treaty (and ultimately we can resile from treaties too) outside the EU.

            There was extensive public debate on alternative potential forms of Brexit, but the choice was ultimately removed by the poor negotiating tactics of May and Robbins in connivance with the EU, who sought to ensure that flavours of BRINO was the only option put before Parliament. The EEA option was in any case removed from the table by Norway, although perhaps they could have been persuaded had government opted to be serious about the possibility. I recall pointing up how the EEA arrangement could have worked under the EEA Agreement at this site in ways that would have left us much freer than under the Withdrawal Agreement.

        2. John Hatfield
          March 22, 2023

          We voted to be free of the EU, in its entirety.

          1. jerry
            March 22, 2023

            @John Hatfield; That is simply an assertion by those who want(ed) such an exit, the words “in its entirety” wasn’t part of the question asked or printed on the ballot paper, and indeed there was at least one campaign group whose long standing Brexit manifesto (often debated on this very site and others) suggested a Norway style relationship with the EU – the idea was dubbed “Flexcit”.

            Had the referendum result been to Remain, I’m sure no one on the Leave side would have accepted euro-federalists hijacking such a result and asserting the UK now had to adopt the Euro, hand back out opt-outs etc.

  2. Barrie Emmett
    March 22, 2023

    In this time of failing energy security I find it inconceivable that a government department did not have this information at hand. Smacks of malaise at the heart of this administration.

  3. Mickey Taking
    March 22, 2023

    Why would The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero be interested in levels of future UK oil and gas production. ?
    Hilarious, if not so indicative of a laissez-faire attitude.

  4. Glenn Vaughan
    March 22, 2023

    UK inflation rises to 10.4%!

    There’s a fog in Downing Street
    It’s where the Cabinet all meet
    Inflation’s over soon they said
    But they’ve lost all sense instead

    Good times are ahead
    Good times are always ahead
    But don’t be long
    Or we might all be dead.

    1. Cuibono
      March 22, 2023

      Jam tomorrow?

    2. jerry
      March 22, 2023

      @Glenn Vaughan; “UK inflation rises to 10.4%!”

      Indeed, and that’s the sanitized figure, a basket of carefully selected items that many never buy…

  5. Ashley
    March 22, 2023

    To comment indeed and The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), known as the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) until March 2022 is a private company limited by shares wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

    One assumes this organisation is to distance the government slightly from any claims of gross incompetence and negligence. Or to give high paid & pensioned jobs to mates of politicians perhaps? or just to waste more money? Any other possible reasons?

  6. turboterrier
    March 22, 2023

    The clue is in the Security part of the departments title.
    They have revisited the thinking trap of over 20 years ago. That windfarms and solar with all the other strap on means of generation are and will be the panacea to all that’s wrong with our energy industry.
    Oil wil always be needed as its by products are essential to life as we know it. All the bicycles we are being condemned to using require grease and oils as with so many domestic, commercial applications.
    It raises its ugly head again.
    Incompetence, ignorance and arrogance.
    Wish they would get in the box, just to enable them to think outside it!!!

  7. Bryan Harris
    March 22, 2023

    Surely the Energy Department charged with providing greater national security of energy supplies should be able and willing to inform people of the current energy situation and say something about how they intend to improve it.

    That would mean that they would have to care, and they don’t, clearly – they are happy for the UK to be staved of energy, and sink into a paralyzed state.

    The targets driving all government departments are all about net-zero — Nothing else matters!

  8. glen cullen
    March 22, 2023

    SirJ ….I feel your pain

    1. Cuibono
      March 22, 2023

      I always say..I don’t know how he stands it!
      And as for that last interview….I can’t say what I would like to except that JR was marvellous!
      GB news is becoming very much like the BBC.

  9. Original Richard
    March 22, 2023

    In the Spring Budget the Chancellor announced £20bn of government support for CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilisation & Storage) “to capture 20-30m tons of CO2 each year by 2030”.

    So we’re going to spend £20bn (£700 per income tax payer), plus increasing our energy costs in the process, to effectively reduce world global CO2 emissions by less than 0.1% per annum (IEA’s 2021 figure for CO2 emissions is 36bn tons – which will be much higher by 2030 as China, India et al continue to increase their annual consumption of coal).

    At the same time, as announced by Sir Keir Starmer at the last WEF/Davos meeting, our energy policymakers intend to close down our North Sea gas production and hence make us rely totally on imported gas for the £20bn CCUS project.

    Make no mistake the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero intends to make our energy as expensive and as insecure as possible.

    1. Mark
      March 22, 2023

      Imagine what we could do with productive investment of £20bn in oil and gas. Of course, the £20bn figure doesn’t include what billpayers will be contributing to the commercial operations of these enterprises. It’s just the over the counter up front subsidy, before the back door subsidies via carbon taxes setting high market prices etc.

  10. Cuibono
    March 22, 2023

    What “security” is that then?
    Or maybe WHOSE “security”?

    1. glen cullen
      March 22, 2023

      Maybe we have to send in the army to patrol & protect the French electric inter-connectors ….after all we’d be in the poo if we didn’t import energy

      1. Cuibono
        March 22, 2023

        Very good point.

  11. Peter Gardner
    March 22, 2023

    Lack of interest? No, ouitright rejection of any investment in UK oil or gas to achieve either energy independence or affordable transition to some form of non-carbon power genereation.
    We are in the hands of an ideological cult manipulating a weak, naive, gullible, feeble government.

  12. James
    March 22, 2023

    Today the public should get a good insight into the suspected diabolical workings of the Boris Johnson mindset – four hours of questioning should throw up a lot – and I see Rees-Mogg is already out of the traps spinning about kangaroo courts. I do hope the questioning goes a little beyond Johnson to include some of his low type supporters.

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