Government refuses to rule out new oil and gas licences in North Sea deal


The government has refused to rule out the granting of new oil and gas licences in a deal agreed with the fossil fuel industry.

On Wednesday, ministers announced the details of the North Sea Transition Deal – a long-awaited agreement between the government and the oil and gas sector.

The aim of the deal is to facilitate the country’s transition away from extracting oil and gas from waters surrounding the UK. The extraction process alone accounts for around 3.5 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, and much more pollution is caused when the fuels are burned.

The government said that a package of measures agreed through the deal would cut emissions from oil and gas extraction by 15m tonnes by 2030 – the equivalent of the annual emissions of 90 per cent of British homes.

However, it refused to rule out the possibility of new oil and gas licences and instead announced the introduction of a “climate compatibility checkpoint” to ensure that any future licences awarded would be “aligned with wider climate objectives”, including its legal target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

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