According to reports, a Labour administration will prevent new North Sea oil and gas ventures.
When he outlines his net-zero energy policy in Scotland next month, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is about to make the announcement, according to The Sunday Times.
According to the newspaper, as part of the energy plans, a Sir Keir-led administration would only take on debt to fund investments in environmentally friendly businesses. Labour anticipates that its plans will result in the creation of up to 500,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector, including 50,000 in Scotland.
A Labour source told the Sunday Times: “We are against the granting of new licences for oil and gas in the North Sea.
“They will do nothing to cut bills, as the Tories have acknowledged.
“They undermine our energy security and would drive a coach and horse through our climate targets.
“But Labour would continue to use existing oil and gas wells over the coming decades and manage them sustainably as we transform the UK into a clean energy superpower.”
Labour’s shadow work and pensions minister, Jonathan Ashworth, said on Sunday on Sky News that his party will detail “how we want to invest in green jobs of the future” in the coming weeks.
He stated that the goal is to handle present developments “sustainably,” rather than “shutting down what’s happening right now.”
He added: “We know we’ve got to move to more renewable sources of energy, it’s important for our climate change commitments but it’s also the way in which we can bring energy bills down for consumers.”
The Scottish Government advocated the “quickest possible just transition” in its draft energy plan, which stated there “should be a presumption against new exploration for oil and gas.”
However, new oil and gas exploration has the support of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and energy licenses are governed by Westminster.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said on Twitter on Sunday: “First it was the SNP, now Labour want to abandon the north east and the thousands of jobs that support North Sea oil and gas.
“Only the Scottish Conservatives will stand up for the area and those employed in our oil and gas sector.”
First it was the SNP, now Labour want to abandon the North East and the thousands of jobs that support North Sea oil and gas. Only the @ScotTories will stand up for the area and those employed in our oil and gas sector. pic.twitter.com/06NYnm5en5
— Douglas Ross MP MSP (@Douglas4Moray) May 28, 2023
A license round for oil and gas exploration projects was recently held by the North Sea Transition Authority, and more than 100 proposals were received.
Cambo and Jackdaw oil fields have each received a license.
British people would not forgive anyone, according to Dave Whitehouse, chief executive of Offshore Energies UK, if they closed down the nation’s oil and gas industry and replaced it with imports from outside.
He added: “Everyone is clear that the energy system must change; business and government must do this in partnership. Labour’s approach risks sending the wrong signals.
“By investing in homegrown production, we avoid costlier, less secure, and higher carbon footprint imports while supporting the infrastructure we need to make cleaner, more affordable energy in the UK, for the UK.
“As we build that future there is no simple choice between oil and gas on the one hand and renewables on the other. The reality is that to keep the lights on and grow our economy, we need both. By the mid-2030s, oil and gas will still provide for 50% of our energy needs.
“We urge Keir Starmer and (shadow chancellor) Rachel Reeves to fulfil their promise to listen to industry and engage with our workers.
“We need to meet our climate goals while not undermining energy security, the economy and the very people needed to deliver secure and affordable energy.”
The proposals were also criticized by Ryan Crighton, policy director of the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, who called them “pie in the sky stuff” that had been developed without consulting the sector or the area, which has been a major source of energy for the UK for 50 years.
“Big ambition on renewable energy is exactly what we need. However, once again, we have politicians threatening to undermine the energy transition with a position on oil and gas that is not grounded in the reality of how net zero will be delivered,” he said.