Why do we need oil & gas?
Why do we need it today?
Gas is one of the key pillars of the UK’s energy mix and a vital part of our economy providing heat, electricity and raw materials.
Currently gas provides over 80% of the UK’s heating needs and c. 40% of our electricity generation (source: Dukes 2019).
Oil forms a key part of the UK’s energy mix. Over 40 percent of the UK’s total energy production in 2018 was from crude oils extracted from the UK’s Continental Shelf, and UK refineries produced 58 million tonnes of oil products. Oil products made up nearly half of the UK’s consumer demand in 2018.
Oil and gas provide the raw material to make a wide range of products and plastics.
Why do we need it tomorrow?
The UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in its May 2019 Net Zero report clearly forecast a very significant UK gas demand out to 2050 and beyond – approximately 70 per cent of 2019 gas demand still existing in the year 2050. Under the CCC’s recommended pathway to net zero CO2 this gas would be used as both a feedstock for making hydrogen and a backup supply for generating electricity. Carbon Capture and Storage would accompany gas usage to ensure net zero CO2 emissions.
If we do not continue to develop onshore gas and oil there will be a considerable increase in import dependency - potentially as high as 86% - even under net zero conditions. It is important to remember that UK shale gas has at least 50% fewer pre-combustion emissions than LNG and long distance pipeline gas.
Gas also has an important role in balancing out the increasing levels of intermittent and inflexible low carbon energy on the system.