UKOOG – Government must act to protect gas reserves
22 Jun 2017
The UK will become increasingly reliant upon imported gas if it does not embark on a strategy to boost its domestic output and reserves, warned the chief executive of United Kingdom Onshore Oil and Gas, Ken Cronin.
He was speaking after the announcement by Centrica that it will permanently close its Rough facility in the North Sea, which housed 70% of the country’s natural gas stores and supplied 10% of the the UK’s peak winter demand.
Said Cronin: said: “The solution for the UK in the medium term cannot be to transport gas across oceans and continents.”
Short term, the loss of Rough will boost the need for imports from sources, especially liquefied natural gas from Qatar, but also pipeline supplies from Norway and the Netherlands. However, the volatile political situation between the Arab state and its powerful rival Saudi Arabia is likely to increase concern around UK dependence on overseas sources.
The solution for the UK in the medium term cannot be to transport gas across oceans and continents
Ken Cronin, chief executive, UKOOG
The UKOOG chief said the search for alternatives raised again the need to explore the potential from sources including shale reserves.
“The UK needs to ensure that whatever gas replaces that of Rough comes from sources that can deliver the same high levels of environmental and regulatory standards.
"Only the development of the UK’s onshore resources just a mile under our feet can do this, simultaneously maximising the employment and economic benefits that come with producing our energy at home.”
Resistance within Westminster to domestic fracking for shale gas was strengthened by the result of the general election, but limited import of US shale-derived products is already underway at the Ineos Grangemouth site.
American production has substantially increased in recent years and is expected to be buoyed by export demand. The knock on effect of low prices for the US consumer and industry has been cited by advocates of fracking in the UK.
* Centrica said it will seek to recover the estimated 183 billion cubic feet of gas remaining in the Rough field.