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UK Government’s years of irresponsible energy neglect has left Britain ‘at mercy of Putin’

Net Zero Watch
London, 18 October – Net Zero Watch today accused the government of years of irresponsible neglect of domestic natural gas production from the North Sea and from Britain’s massive shale gas basins to focus instead on unreliable renewable energy.The gas crisis in the United Kingdom is now so severe that there is open discussion of the possibility of rationing natural gas to industrial consumers in order to secure supplies for electricity generation and for domestic household heating.

In an astonishing indication of Western and British weakness there is even frank discussion of the emerging need to “do a deal” with Russia.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday (17 October), Russia’s Ambassador offered to “come to the rescue” with emergency supplies of gas to “alleviate difficult conditions” in the UK.

The Ambassador noted that Gazprom currently has 3% of the UK gas market, but that they would be open to the “opportunity” of enlarging that share in the current crisis.

British production of natural gas has fallen by over 60 % since the year 2000, as can be seen in the following official government chart.

Figure 1: UK gas production 1999-2020. Source: BEIS Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES 2021).

In spite of this decline, and the fact that natural gas in indispensable as backup energy for wind and solar, the UK government has refused to develop remaining fields in the North Sea, such as the Jackdaw field for which permission was recently refused, and, even more importantly, has put a ban on the development of Shale Gas reserves.

Dr Benny Peiser, Net Zero Watch director, said:

“Impractical and utopian climate policies have resulted in a growing risk to UK gas supply and national security, and has left Britain at the mercy of Putin’s Russia. This was utterly foreseeable, and it is almost too late to fix the problem in the short term.”

“Irrespective of the UN climate summit in November (COP26), the government has to prioritise national security now, restart North Sea gas exploration immediately and abandon the effective ban on the development of shale gas.”