Miliband slams North Sea oil and gas field as he unveils Labour’s Green Day
Shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband criticised the prospect of a new mega gas and oil field being approved in the North Sea, as he launched the party’s £28bn ‘Green Prosperity’ plan in London today.
He also reaffirmed Labour’s position of no new fossil fuel projects if the party wins the next election.
Miliband said: “The same resources could build the future. The government siphons money to companies making record profits to persuade them to invest in expensive solutions that will not cut bills by 1p.”
The frontbencher also confirmed there will be no more licensing rounds for fossil fuel projects under a Labour government.
He said: “I don’t believe in new licences for oil and gas, no, and I’ll tell you why. Because they won’t cut bills by a penny, by the government’s own admission. Because now you see the truth – which is that they’ve got to spend massive amounts of money to get the industry to invest in this.”
This follows the International Energy Agency calling for no new projects to be approved if the UK was to meet its net zero goals, with Miliband accusing the government of trying to “ignore the science.”
Miliband’s criticisms of the proposed oil and gas field were said during a Q&A session after the launch of the Green Prosperity Plan – Labour’s response to the US Inflation Reduction Act.
This is a rival approach to the Conservatives’ energy plans – dubbed “Green Day” – which are expected to be announced on Thursday.
Labour’s proposals includes an £8bn national wealth fund, a new nationalised energy provider, vast planning reform and a 2030 decarbonisation goal for the UK’s electricity network.
He promised this new plan would be introduced in the first 100 days of a Labour government if it wins the election next year.
Miliband also urged the Conservative Party to stop being “sore losers” over the US Inflation Reduction Act, which he considered a “game-changer” in the net zero race.
He said: “What we have seen from the UK government is the actions of a group of people caught in the headlights. Kemi Badenoch dismisses the Inflation Reduction Act as ‘protectionist’. Grant Shapps calls it ‘dangerous.’ The Chancellor echoes the sentiment.
“As the US and Europe speed off into the distance, we are spending our time back in the changing room arguing about the rules. Sore loser syndrome won’t win any jobs for Britain.”
When approached for comment a department for energy security and net zero spokesperson said: “The Government’s plans will maintain the UK’s place as a world-leader in working towards net zero while boosting the economy. The UK economy has grown by 65 per cent while cutting emissions by 48 per cent between 1990 and 2021 – decarbonising faster than any other G7 country.
“Our plans to invest in renewable and nuclear technologies will also support up to 480,000 well-paid green jobs and secure as much as £100bn of private investment by 2030. All this is also bolstering our energy security and independence, helping ensure we can bring down wholesale electricity prices to among the lowest in Europe.”
Rosebank: Why the controversy?
Rosebank is nearly three times the size of the controversial Cambo field, and is potentially the source of 500m barrels of oil and gas.
This would be roughly equivalent to eight per cent of the UK’s entire oil output between 2026 and 2030.
It would also produce about 44m cubic feet of gas (1.2m cubic metres) per day in its first 10 years – enough to supply a city the size of Coventry.
The project is 80 per cent owned by Equinor– with the remaining 20 per cent owned by Ithaca Energy.
Under the terms of the investment relief in the Energy Profits Levy – which offers 91p in the pound for new project– – it is reportedly set to receive a taxpayer subsidy worth £3.75bn.
By contrast, Equinor will only pay £350m to develop the project, with 80 per cent of supplies expected to be exported to global markets.
The government is expected to bring in a price floor for the windfall tax, amid concerns Equinor would pull out of the flaghship field.
Earlier this month, Miliband met with Offshore Energies UK chief executive David Whitehouse for the first time – as reported by City A.M.