UK Gas Producers Boost Domestic Supplies By A Quarter In Just Six Months


Gas companies have stepped up to the plate in recent months to help the UK cut its dependence on imports.

Domestic production in the first half of 2022 was 26% higher than the same period in 2021, according to Offshore Energies UK (OEUK).

That is enough to heat more than 3 million homes for a year.

Westminster is striving to expand the availability of domestic energy supplies to replace imports from Russia.

Europe has been plagued by energy shortages for the best part of a year, progressively driving up oil and gas costs.

That problem was exacerbated by the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine in February, and the subsequent removal of Russian hydrocarbon supplies.

© Bloomberg
A worker adjusts a valve wheel on a section of pipework at the Comprehensive Gas Treatment Unit No.3 at the Gazprom PJSC Chayandinskoye oil, gas and condensate field, a resource base for the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, in the Lensk district of the Sakha Republic, Russia, on Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. Amid record daily swings of as much as 40% in European gas prices, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a calculated intervention to cool the market last week by saying Gazprom can boost supplies to help ease shortages.

A recent House of Commons briefing confirmed the UK broke all energy links with Russia in June 2022, when no oil, gas or coal from was imported from the country.

As it stands, gas is the backbone of the UK energy mix, and was responsible for 44% of electricity generation in July.

It also heated 85% of homes, as well as fuelling other industrial processes producing materials and goods.

There are serious fears though that a cold winter in Europe could heap pressure on gas supplies, swelling household bills further.

To reduce the likelihood of such an event happening, increases in domestic production need to be sustained, and trade body OEUK says that can only happen with continued investment in reserves.

Increases in the first half of the year were a result of a range of factors, including the start-up of new fields in the Southern North Sea.

That includes Harbour Energy’s (LON:HBR) Tolmont field and IOG’s (LON:IOG) Saturn Banks project.

IOG platform issue Blythe © IOG
The Noble Hans Deul rig drilling through the Blythe platform, which is part of IOG’s Saturn Banks

Planned shutdown activity has also been lower due to the scale of work completed in 2021, as well as companies wanting to make hay while the sun shines.

OEUK sustainability director, Mike Tholen said: “While we don’t know what winter will bring for the UK this year, we know that it is coming and, we must be prepared for the worst and hope for the best to support UK energy security.

“UK gas producers have already ramped up domestic supplies by 26% in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. The massive increase in our support for the UK’s gas needs can only be sustained by substantial ongoing investment from gas producer companies.”

The increase in production meant, in recent months, around half of the UK’s gas needs have been met with home-produced resources.

OEUK is warning that any reduction in UK supplies of gas would increase consumer costs further as it would decrease availability of international supplies and ramp up prices.

It also says the current situation underlined the challenges countries face if oil and gas production declines more rapidly than demand.

© Supplied by OEUK
OEUK sustainability director Mike Tholen.

Mr Tholen added: “If we are to continue our efforts to protect UK gas supplies, which remains the backbone of our energy mix for electricity, heating and industrial processes, we need politicians of all parties to support energy produced here in the UK with all the benefits that brings for taxes, energy security and jobs.  It’s all the more important at a time when we can’t afford to tighten supplies even further, which is what will naturally happen if domestic production of gas isn’t maintained.”

energy, Energy Voice | Oil and Gas news

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