My Intervention on the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill

John Redwood (Wok, Con):

I want to see far less imported LNG. Can the Minister give us some good news on what we might be able to achieve in getting more gas out, and will he ensure that many blocks—not just one—are put up for a licence round to get rid of that LNG?

Graham Stuart (Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero):

The estimate from the North Sea Transition Authority is that a billion of barrels of oil equivalent, including gas, would be lost if we did not have new licences. That is lost tax revenue for this country, on top of the 200,000 jobs and lower emissions—[Interruption.] So far, I have not mentioned the tens of billions of pounds of tax. [Interruption.] It is not surprising, given how comprehensively easy it is to destroy the Labour party’s arguments, that the right hon. Member for Doncaster North keeps up his constant chuntering. He cannot win the argument while he is on his feet, so he sits there and tries interrupting those who can. If we do not have new licensing, which is Labour’s policy, we will see emissions go up in the short term; 200,000 jobs undermined; tens of billions in tax not brought into the public Exchequer; and—for those who care about dealing with the climate emergency—we will lose the very engineering skills and talent that we need to retain in this country in order to make the transition.


  1. Rod Evans
    January 23, 2024

    To remove any confusion that might still persist in wider society and certainly exists in the political theatre of Westmonster (sic) Co2 does not control climate. It never has and never can. No Climate Model run on computers programmed by humans remember, has ever been able to back cast the climate we have already experienced and none of the dozens of them that are in use and make up the IPCC’s scare mongering foundation, have been accurate or able to forward predict the climate yet to come.
    Keep up the good work Sir John, somebody has to.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 24, 2024

      Indeed CO2 is just one of millions of variables that can affect climate slightly everything else being equal but they will not be (many are not even very predictable (like Sunspot activity or volcanic activity). CO2 is not even the largest greenhouse gas. On balance CO2 the gas of life is a huge net benefit. Many of the things they push waste vast sums of money and do not even cut CO2. EVcars for certain do not save CO2 on balance. Nor are they remotely zero emission.

  2. Bloke
    January 23, 2024

    Interruptions are occasionally appropriate, but some bad repeated interruptions are often ignored. The rough and tumble of PMQs is occasionally better with them. Lindsay Hoyle tends to warn those causing nuisance of being dismissed from the chamber but rarely follows through. Repeated threats without action are meaningless.
    Graham Stuart spoke well.

  3. DOM
    January 23, 2024

    Labour is an existential threat. With a leader with balls the Tories could destroy Labour, no problem. Labour have history that is criminally incriminating. They just need exposing

  4. Mark
    January 23, 2024

    You were entirely correct to imply that any gas produced by new UK fields would serve to back out expensive LNG imports. Mr Miliband is completely wrong when he claims the gas would be sold on world markets. We have no capability to make LNG which is the only way for gas to reach a global market. Our limited pipeline export capacity to Belgium and the Netherlands is used to transfer LNG purchases they make that they have not had the import capacity to land for themselves, and for which they pay extra shipping via the UK. With increased LNG terminal capacity on the Continent these re-exports will decline.

    If we did manage to find very substantial gas reserves, sufficient to supply our needs and provide a large surplus we might consider as the US has done building LNG export capacity. The result would be that domestic gas would sell for no more than the export plant could afford to pay to cover its costs of investment and liquefaction and port facilities. Just as in the US that would be at a substantial discount to even an FOB LNG price, ever mind the extra an LNG buyer must pay for shipping and its LNG terminals to receive and store LNG and regasify it for consumption. Costs that are saved by not having to import LNG.

  5. ChrisS
    January 23, 2024

    At last a sensible contribution from a Motor Industry professional :

    Toyota has always been a reluctant convert to EVs, but Chief Executive, Akio Toyoda, has gone out on a limb :
    He has said that, with a billion people living around the world without electricity, the combustion engine will inevitably be around and in production for decades to come. This is common sense because we know that there are also billions more people who have only limited access to electricity and will never have sufficient infrastructure to charge an EV, even if they could afford one.

    We therefore have to ask ourselves, why are Western countries, going headlong down the road to eliminate IC-engines and convert to impractical and expensive EVs, when elsewhere in the world, it will never happen ?

  6. a-tracy
    January 23, 2024

    I had to look up the member for Doncaster North – Ed Miliband, enough said.

    1. Mickey Taking
      January 23, 2024

      you remember Ed – the one who tried to casually eat the bacon sarnie – but nearly threw up!

  7. Mark
    January 23, 2024

    There have been claims that new oil production would mainly be exported on world markets. The basis for such claims is far from established. Of course, if we continue to close our refineries as a further nod to the net zero god as now expected at Grangemouth and in line with the general forced closure of industry as at Port Talbot there would be no alternative to export, and our lack of refineries would leave us with vulnerable supply.

    The realities are that most new fields will produce via shuttle tankers, although some may be able to take advantage of existing pipelines to UK oil ports. Shuttle tankers have a limited range because they must scurry back to load the next cargo if production is to be maintained, so any export would be to the nearby Continent, with even Donges refinery at the mouth of the Loire being too far away. Whether a UK refiner will buy a particular grade of crude oil depends on markets and how well suited the grade is to refinery operations given its plant configuration and the pattern of product demand it faces. For example during the 1984 miners’ strike UK refineries supplied large volumes of power station fuel which meant that light sweet crude like Brent was exported, while the refineries bought heavy crude from the Middle East, Mexico and parts of Africa.

    Now that there is no local market for power station fuel, and with the very tight specifications on sulphur in oil fuels in particular, UK refiners have no interest in heavier, sulphurous crude except to meet the limited demand for asphalt, increasingly met by imports because road repair demand has fallen so much. Meanwhile UKCS oil production has seen the mainly light sweet grades like Brent and Forties replaced by production from fields like Buzzard which produce heavier, more sulphurous crude, which gets exported to refineries able to cope with it, while UK refineries have increasingly turned to light sweet crude produced by fracking in the US, which is now our main source of crude supply, eclipsing even Norway.

    Whether new oil production would be consumed in the UK or exported in exchange for other crude will depend on the crude oil quality produced, which is largely unknown until exploratory drilling provides samples from a reservoir. Nevertheless markets work very efficiently to provide the best outcome for the UK, lowering the cost of product supply from refineries and securing the best markets for the crude.

  8. Ian wragg
    January 23, 2024

    If you were really interested in lowering emissions you would get fracking with the condition that the first call for the gas was the UK network on a cost plus basis. Any extra can be sold at market prices. But you won’t so it’s all greenwashing

  9. Lifelogic
    January 23, 2024

    The Tory/Sunak policy on energy & net zero is to drive over the cliff (but with the tiniest touch on the brakes first) truly evil & insane – but Labour’s are even more moronic. See this green new deal complete drivel –

    The same bonkers policies either way.

    Graham Stuart (Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero – a direct contradiction in the very title of the job) read Philiosophy and Law (Selwyn College) for three years but failed even that degree. I wonder if he knows what “entropy” is or the difference between energy and power, or the various units for measuring them, are? Or even how much different a doubling of atmospheric CO2 might make to World temperatures all other things being the equal – virtually nothing is the answer – prob. on balance a net benefit in fact.

    Or indeed how hugely inefficient transport by walking fuelled on human food like steak and chips is.

    I rather doubt it.

    1. hefner
      January 25, 2024

      These days the entropy within the closed system that is the PCP is certainly increasing, while it’s enthalpy is getting to zero. Don’t you think?

  10. Ian B
    January 23, 2024

    Sir John
    Never stop trying, Although for us affected by the not thinking things through from the Conservative Government and the previous crowd, we keep seeing a pattern of all talk and no action.
    We had Nuclear, the other crowd sold it for £1.8 billion saying the UK will never need it. Now this Conservative Government finds itself at the mercy of the whims of the French Government, paying them £1.5 billion last year and at least that every year going forward for something we used to own. People need to think, the taxpayer funded and built our Nuclear energy and future, having paid for it once we are now paying for it ongoing – that is a taxpayer loss.
    That scenario can be played out by nearly everything that the UK needs to keep it safe and secure.
    Then we have steel the Conservative Government has given away £500million of taxpayer money so that the UK is forced to create more not less World emission – offshoring the UK’s emissions is not even a Net-zero winner. then we have in the media today the Welsh Government Economy Minster saying that Tata needs many more hundreds of millions to stay in Wales and keep the proposed recycling plant alive.

  11. Michael Saxton
    January 23, 2024

    Most refreshing to read a Net Zero Minister pushing back against Labour!

  12. Hugh+C
    January 23, 2024

    Paraphrasing Mrs Thatcher….. YES, YES, YES!!

  13. Iain Hunter
    January 23, 2024

    Sir John, will you please point out to the minister that there is NO CLIMATE EMERGENCY. Furthermore, those of us who have taken the time to investigate the whole man-made climate change business know full well that climate changes naturally, it has nothing to do with the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere and mankind can do nothing about it except adapt if forced to do so. The scientific evidence for that is now overwhelming. Climate change as it is presented to the world by the UN IPCC and various government and non-governmental bodies is a politically motivated hoax and a fraud designed to transfer the wealth of the Western world to the rest. Therefore, the Climate Change Committee should be abolished, Net Zero cancelled and the Climate Change Act repealed.

  14. Peter Gardner
    January 24, 2024

    You’d think the minister might mention energy independence. Isn’t that a national strategic aim somewhere in the mist of the Tory Party’s vague ideas on why they should be returned to office. Of course tax is important but making that sound like the aim here, makes the Party sound like Socialist Labour.

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