Greg Hands – 2022 Statement on the North Sea Transition Authority

The statement made by Greg Hands, the Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, in the House of Commons on 31 March 2022.

As the House is aware, the North sea transition deal was agreed with the oil and gas industry a year ago. This is a central part of the energy transition and a global exemplar of how an oil and gas producer can plan for a smooth transition away from our reliance on fossil fuels. The urgency of this transition along with the ongoing need for oil and gas has been highlighted by Putin’s war against Ukraine.

The role of the oil and gas authority has developed over the past few years, and its name reflected only one part of the work that it does. It has now changed its name to the North Sea Transition Authority. The Government were consulted and supports this change.

The new name better represents the breadth of work it now undertakes and its pivotal role in supporting the UK upstream oil and gas industry to achieve net zero emissions.

Oil and gas currently meet around 75% of the UK’s energy demand and they will continue to play a vital part in the energy mix for decades to come as we head to net zero. Oil and gas will have a key role to play in our transition to net zero, and sourcing gas domestically can have significant environmental benefits compared to importing it from abroad. The North Sea Transition Authority is helping the industry reduce its own emissions and is now considerably more active in supporting the broader energy transition.

Recent geopolitical events have also made it clearer than ever that security of supply remains of vital importance as the transition is achieved, and the North Sea Transition Authority will remain resolutely focused on its role in ensuring energy security as the body which stewards the oil and gas industry, both on and offshore.

The new name of the North Sea Transition Authority reflects the changing world and its changing role, but also the importance of our North sea to the UK’s energy future. The sector is also an important part of our economy, supporting around 118,000 jobs across the UK, and paying over £30 billion in tax since 2010.

I plan to return to update the House on progress in implementing the North sea transition deal in due course.